Hong Kong residents as young as 12 can get BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, says government

  • Details about arrangements for the coronavirus jab will be announced next week and the Secretary for Health will officially approve the move
  • Slow uptake on the programme means only about 1.05 million of the city’s population of 7.5 million have had both doses of the vaccine

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The Hong Kong government's advisory panel unanimously backed lowering the age limit for the BioNTech vaccine. Photo: SCMP/K.Y. Cheng

The Hong Kong government has decided that children as young as 12 years old will be able to receive the BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.

Details about vaccination arrangements will be announced early next week, after Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee officially approves the move on Thursday.

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The government’s advisory panel on Covid-19 vaccines unanimously backed lowering the age limit from 16 for the German-made vaccine.

“[The health minister] considered that the benefits of lowering the age limit for receiving the Comirnaty vaccine may outweigh the risks,” the Food and Health Bureau said in a statement, using the jab’s brand name. “Not only can it protect adolescents from Covid-19 infection, it can also enable them to resume normal school and daily life as soon as possible.”

The expansion of the government’s vaccination drive meant that around 243,500 youngsters aged 12 to 15 would be eligible for the shots.

Since the launch of the vaccination programme in late February, take-up has been slow. About 1.42 million people, or 18.9 per cent of the city’s 7.5 million population, have received their first vaccine dose. Around 1.05 million of them have taken their second shot.