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Hong Kong Approves Sinovac Vaccine For Children Aged 3-17

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food and Health said adolescents aged 12 to 17 will be accorded priority to receive the CoronaVac vaccine


Hong Kong
People receive a dose of the Sinovac Biotech's Covid-19 vaccine at a community vaccination center in Hong Kong, China. Photo: Reuters

 

Hong Kong has approved lowering the age limit for the Covid-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech to three years old as it pursues a campaign to incentivise its 7.5 million residents to get jabbed.

“Adolescents aged 12 to 17 will be accorded priority to receive the CoronaVac vaccine, with a view to extending to children of a younger age group at a later stage,” Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food and Health (SFH) Sophia Chan said in a statement published on Saturday.

According to the statement, the SFH considered that the benefits of approving the extension of the age eligibility to cover those aged three to 17 “outweigh the risks”.

A Hong Kong government advisory panel on Covid-19 vaccines had earlier recommended the SFH to approve the new age limit, the statement added.

Vaccination Campaign

The extension of the age eligibility comes as the vaccination campaign in the Asian financial hub which started in February has lagged many other developed economies, with about 67% of the population vaccinated with two shots from either Sinovac or Germany’s BioNTech.

In a separate statement on Friday, the city’s government said it purchased 1 million extra doses of BioNTech vaccine for the implementation of third dose Covid-19 vaccination.

Hong Kong has followed Beijing’s lead in retaining strict travel restrictions to curb new Covid outbreaks, in contrast to a global trend of opening up and living with the coronavirus.

International business lobby groups have warned Hong Kong could lose talent and investment, as well as competitive ground to rival finance hubs such as Singapore, unless it relaxes its restrictions on travel.

Despite barely any recent local cases and an environment virtually free of Covid-19, Hong Kong has imposed mandatory hotel quarantine of up to 21 days for arrivals from most countries at the travellers’ cost.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Kevin Hamlin

 


 

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Kevin Hamlin

Kevin Hamlin is a financial journalist with more than 40 years of experience covering Asia. Before joining Asia Financial, Kevin worked for Bloomberg News, spending 12 years as Senior China Economy Reporter in Beijing. Prior to that, he was Asia Bureau Chief of Institutional Investor for ten years.

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