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China should consider vaccinating children aged under 12 against COVID


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO A staff member stands outside the booth that gives vaccines against coronavirus diseases (COVID-19), during an official visit to China’s Beijing vaccination center. This was April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) -China should consider inoculating children aged under 12 to further boost its vaccination drive, an expert at China’s disease control authority said on Thursday, as data showed over 70% of the population have received their COVID-19 shots.

This country, which has given complete doses to nearly 1.01billion people as of Sept. 15, or 72%, of its population of 1.4billion, is now among the top countries for COVID-19 vaccination.

Wang Huaqing (Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention) is China’s chief immunisation expert. She said China needs to be careful as highly transmissible Delta strains could jeopardize efforts to develop herd immunity.

Wang stated that only if more people get vaccinated, the true impact of vaccines can be realized. For China’s immunization programme, it is important to consider the needs of children under 12 years.

These comments are made as a result of a flu epidemic in Fujian, southeastern China. In less than one week there have been 200 cases, with at least 5 primary schools and 4 kindergartens infected.

The two major vaccines for China, Sinovac and Sinopharm were approved by the Chinese government for children as young as three years old. However, authorities responsible for vaccination have not yet made children younger than 12 eligible.

Wang stated that China needs to continue improving its vaccination strategy for COVID, and developing better vaccines.

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