- Health authorities will consider offering the BioNTech jab for younger age groups, to expand coverage against coronavirus
- Scientists will first study the safety and efficacy of getting children vaccinated before expanding the programme
Hong Kong health authorities will consider offering Covid-19 vaccines to children aged 12 to 15 if scientific research shows the jab is safe and effective for them, officials have said, saying they are also seeking clinical data from the maker of the BioNTech jab.
Addressing the potential extension of vaccines to younger age groups, Undersecretary for Food and Health Dr Chui Tak-yi said scientists would be tasked to study the efficacy and safety of giving children the jabs.
“If there is sufficient data showing that lowering the age group will be equally effective and safe, the government will definitely consider it, as it will help increase vaccination coverage,” Chui said.
“We are getting information … on the scientific data and all the supporting figures. We will submit those figures once we have them, and pass them to the advisory panel [on vaccines] for further deliberations. The government will proceed accordingly.”
The University of Hong Kong is also conducting a study on Covid-19 vaccinations among secondary school students. The trial is recruiting 125 children for each of the two vaccines currently used in the city, and Chui said the government would consider those findings when they were available.
He also said the government would follow up on ensuring younger residents had enough time to get vaccinated if a decision were finalised.
Currently, the German-made BioNTech vaccine is given only to those aged 16 and above, while those taking the Chinese-made Sinovac jab must be at least 18.