China approves Covid-19 vaccine for kids as young as 3
- "When Sinovac's vaccine will be offered to younger groups depends on health authorities formulating China's inoculation strategies," local media reported Yin as saying.
China authorised the emergency use of Sinovac Biotech's coronavirus vaccine for children, becoming the first major country to do so for those as young as three. Until now, the immunisation drive was limited to people aged 18 and above.
In an official statement to state media, the company's chairman Yin Weidong announced the decision on Friday. The government is yet to announce an exact date when it will start administrating the jab to kids. "When Sinovac's vaccine will be offered to younger groups depends on health authorities formulating China's inoculation strategies," local media reported Yin as saying.
The preliminary results from Phase I and II clinical trials show that the vaccine can trigger an immune response in kids. The adverse effects have been mild so far, news agency Reuters reported.
The participants were injected with a third booster dose after they completed their two regular shots. This resulted in 10-fold increase in antibody levels in a week, and 20-fold in half a month, Yin said while making the announcement.
It will continue to test a three-dose regimen and to observe antibody duration before the company actually makes the recommendation to authorities about when a third dose should be given, he added.
After Sinovac, state-backed drugmaker Sinopharm has also submitted a request for emergency approval for kids to the government. A vaccine from CanSino Biologics' is also in Phase II of the clinical trial involving those aged between six and 17.
Meanwhile, the vaccination drive in China accelerated in the country as authorities administered 100 million shots injust five days. Chinese public health officials said that they are aiming to inoculate 80% of the population of 1.4 billion by the end of the year.