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Sinovac: China allowed ages 3-17 to get emergency virus vaccine

A person carrying a child on his shoulder walks along a road in a shopping area in Chongqing, China, on June 1, 2021. (QILAI SHEN/BLOOMBERG)

China authorized the emergency use of Sinovac Biotech Ltd’s coronavirus vaccine for children, becoming the first major country to grant approval for those as young as three, according to the head of Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech.

The move came amid reports that young people with the disease could be as infectious as adults. Some regions, including Singapore and a few US states, have so far authorized the use of COVID-19 vaccines against children 12 years and above.

The same vaccine, the same amount, and the same process can be used for children aged between 3 and 17. 

 Yin Weidong, CEO, Sinovac Biotech

Phase I and Phase II research, involving several hundred participants, showed that the Sinovac vaccine is as safe and effective for children as it is for adults, the company’s Chief Executive Officer Yin Weidong told state broadcaster China Central Television on Friday.

READ MORE: WHO approves Sinovac virus vaccine for emergency use

“The same vaccine, the same amount, and the same process can be used for children aged between 3 and 17,” Yin said. “China’s health authority will push forward vaccine use for different age groups in an orderly manner based on China’s epidemic needs and population structure.”

ALSO READ: WHO move boosts vaccine equity

The World Health Organization approved Sinovac’s vaccine as part of its emergency use listing on Tuesday for people aged 18 and older. The authorization granted to the Sinovac shot is the second given to a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine, after state-owned Sinopharm Group Co secured WHO’s nod for emergency use in early May.

Also cleared for emergency use by the WHO are vaccines from Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE, AstraZeneca Plc, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna Inc.