China approves Sinovac for use in children

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China has approved Sinovac Biotech’s (SVA.O) Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in people aged between three and 17 years old.

It’s Chairman, Yin Weidong, addressed state TV late on Friday, saying it will be up to relevant health authorities formulating China’s inoculation strategies to decide when the vaccine will be offered to younger groups.

China’s mass vaccination drive, which administered 723.5 million doses of vaccines as of June 3, is currently open to those aged 18 and above. 

Yin said minors have lower priority for vaccination against the coronavirus compared with the elderly, who face higher risk of severe symptoms after infection.

Preliminary results from Phase I and II clinical trials showed the vaccine could trigger immune response in three to 17 year-old participants, and most adverse reactions were mild.

State-backed drugmaker Sinopharm, which has two shots using similar technology to Sinovac’s product, is also submitting data for clearance in younger groups. 

A vaccine from CanSino Biologics’ has entered a Phase II trial involving those aged between six and 17. 

Sinovac has also completed a Phase II trial where participants were injected with a third booster dose after completing two regular shots. 

Participants saw 10 fold increase in antibody levels compared with previous levels in a week, and 20 fold in half a month.

Chairman Yin Weidong cautioned that Sinovac still needs to complete longer-term observation of antibody duration before it can make recommendation to authorities about when a third dose should be given.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently gave emergency approval to Sinovac on June 1. 

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