China has approved the emergency use of Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine for people between the ages of three and 17, its chairman Yin Weidong told state TV late Friday.
China’s mass vaccination machine, which has administered 723.5 million doses of vaccine since June 3, is currently only open to those aged 18 and over.
According to Reuters, when the Sinovac vaccine will be offered to newer groups depends on health authorities formulating China’s vaccination strategies, Yin told state TV in a live interview.
Yin said juveniles have a lower priority for coronavirus vaccination compared to the elderly, who face a higher risk of severe post-infection symptoms.
Preliminary results from Phase I and II clinical trials showed that the vaccine could elicit immune responses in participants three to 17 years of age, and the most adverse reactions were mild.
The state-backed manufacturer Sinopharm, which has two shots using technologies similar to Sinovac’s product, is also presenting data on cleaning in new groups. A vaccine from CanSino Biologics’, adopting another technique, has entered a Phase II trial involving those aged between six and 17.
Sinovac has also completed a Phase II clinical trial, where participants were injected with a third booster dose after completing two regular shots, Yin said.
Participants saw 10-fold increases in antibody levels compared to previous levels in a week, and 20 times in half a month, Yin said. Yin warned that Sinovac still needs to complete long-term monitoring of antibody duration before making recommendations to authorities on when a third dose should be given.