China’s mass vaccination drive, which administered 723.5 million doses of vaccines as of June 3, is currently only open to those aged 18 and above.
Meanwhile China has approved the emergency use of Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine for children aged 3 to 17 years. China became the first country to approve a vaccine for children under the age of three. Till now only people of 18 years and above were being vaccinated there.
In an official statement, Yin Weidong, chairman of Sinovac Biotech, informed about this decision on Friday. The government has not yet given information about when the vaccination of children will be started. Local media have quoted Yin as saying that when the vaccine will be administered depends on the health officials preparing China’s vaccination strategy.
The vaccine has been found to be safe and secure in the preliminary results of the first and second phase clinical trials and its adverse effects have been mild so far. Yin said the third booster dose was given after the participants had given their two regular shots during the trial. This resulted in a 10-fold increase in antibody levels in a week and a 20-fold increase in 15 days a month. He said the company will continue to observe the three-dose test and antibody duration and only then recommend when the third dose should be given.
After Sinovac, Sinopharm has also sought permission from the government for emergency use of its vaccine for children. Another company CanSino Biologics is also making a vaccine for children aged 6 to 17 years and its second phase trials are going on.
Meanwhile, the vaccination campaign in China has been intensified. 10 crore vaccines have been administered in just five days. Chinese health officials have said they aim to vaccinate 80 percent of the population of 1.4 billion by the end of the year.