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Chinese children may be next for COVID-19 vaccines

TAIPE, TAIWAN (AP) – If China vaccinates 80% of its population by the end of the year against the coronavirus to achieve its original goal, tens of millions of children may have to start vaccinating.

Regulators took the first step last week by approving the use of the country’s Sinovac vaccine for children ages 3 to 17, although no announcement has been made as to when filming will begin.

Children are generally spared from the worst cases of the epidemic, becoming infected more easily than adults, և generally have fewer symptoms when catching the virus Experts say children can still pass the virus on to others, some say if countries are preparing To get herd immunity through vaccination campaigns, vaccinating children should be part of the program.

“Vaccination of children is a breakthrough,” said Jin In Dongyan, a virologist at Hong Kong University School of Medicine.

However, this may be easier said than done, from vaccine hesitation to vaccine availability.

Even in countries where there are enough vaccines to go around, some governments have trouble convincing adults that the staff is safe and necessary, even though they show that they are real. Such concerns may arise when dealing with the youngest people in society.

There is a question of confirmation. Several regulators around the world have assessed the safety of COVID-19 shots in children, and most of the shots are approved for adults only right now. But the confirmations begin. USA, Canada, Singapore և Hong Kong allows Pfizer vaccine for children under 12 years of age.

Sinovac’s announcement could pave the way for vaccines already in use in dozens of countries, from Brazil to Indonesia, to children around the world.

In Thailand, where Sinovak makes up most of the country’s vaccines, Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul welcomed the news that China had approved the use of emergency medicine for children.

“Once approved, we are ready to provide vaccines to cover all ages,” Anutin said on Monday.

Other vaccine manufacturers are also working to increase access to young people. Moderna seeks permission to use its footage on 12-year-olds, such as Pfizer. Both companies surveyed even young children up to 6 months old.

Another obstacle to vaccinating children is that many countries are still struggling to get enough doses to vaccinate a higher-risk adult population. For example, Thailand has only vaccinated 4% of its population so far, and the demand for the vaccine in adults is much higher than the supply.

“Given the shortage of vaccines, any available vaccine should be prioritized according to age’s risk-based priorities,” said Jer Jerome Kim, head of the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul. “Indeed, it is very important to get this vaccine in the right places.”

In many places, there are also public concerns about the effectiveness of the Sinovac vaccine against its competitors. Although efficacy levels cannot be directly compared, experiments in different conditions have shown that Western vaccines have been shown to be very effective in preventing infection in real-world tests. Sinovak shot has been shown to be effective in preventing and hospitalizing serious illnesses.

The World Health Organization (WHO) last week approved the Sinovac emergency vaccine for adults 18 18 and older, laying the groundwork for its use in global programs aimed at distributing the vaccine to low- and middle-income countries. The WHO did not say when it might approve it for younger people.

Vaccines are often prescribed separately for adults և children, as the younger immune system may respond differently to doses. Experts say inactivated vaccines are generally considered safe for children because the technology has been used for a long time, such as in childhood immunization programs, and has shown a low risk.

Nikolai Petrovsky, a vaccine expert at Flinders University in Australia, said that while he reasonably assumed the vaccines would be safe for children, he questioned the need to vaccinate them against a virus that was relatively safe from a vaccine that had not yet been shown. it blocks the transfer.

“As far as I know, there is no evidence that the Sinovac vaccine will interfere with the transmission of children,” he wrote. “Without such evidence, we should ask why we vaccinate children.”

China has a population of 1.4 billion, which means that 560 million people need to be vaccinated to reach their 40% vaccination target by June, and 1.12 billion people to reach their 80% vaccination target. It would be difficult to do the latter without vaccinating many of its 254 million children under the age of 14.

When China starts vaccinating children, it will be decided by the government’s National Health Commission on the epidemic, Sinovak chief executive Yin Weidong told state broadcaster CCTV last week.

A Sinovac spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. China’s National Health Commission sent a news report to the AP summarizing Yin’s comments.

China’s state-owned Sinopharm, which has a large number of two inactivated vaccines for adults, said it also provided data to regulators on clinical trials in children aged 3 to 17 years.

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Associated Press writers Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul և Fu Ting in Bangkok contributed to this report.

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