China to offer Covid-19 vaccine to children as young as three

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China has approved the emergency use of a Covid-19 vaccine for those as young as three, the drugmaker confirmed Tuesday, making it the first country to offer jabs to young children.

Since the coronavirus first emerged in central China, Beijing has mostly managed to bring the country s outbreak under control, and has administered over 777 million vaccine doses after a sluggish start.

A spokesperson for Sinovac told AFP its vaccine had been approved for use on children.

“In recent days, the Sinovac vaccine was approved for emergency use in three- to 17-year-olds,” the spokesperson said.

But he did not confirm when the young children would be able to start receiving the shots, saying the schedule for the rollout will be decided by the National Health Commission “according to China s current epidemic prevention and control needs and vaccine supply”.

The company has completed early phase trials of the vaccine in children and adolescents, with results to be published shortly in the Lancet scientific journal, the spokesperson added.

State broadcaster CCTV reported over the weekend that an unnamed official in the State Council s epidemic response task force had said vaccines had been approved for children, and “the safety and effectiveness” had been proven.

A spokesperson for China s other major vaccine, Sinopharm, said that experts had demonstrated the effectiveness of its vaccine in children, but didn t confirm whether it had been approved for use.

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