In China, where 76 percent of the population has been completely vaccinated and officials maintain a zero-tolerance stance against outbreaks, children as young as three will begin getting COVID-19 shots.
China becomes one of the only nations in the world to begin immunizing infants as young as six months old against the virus. Cuba, for example, has started a vaccination campaign for children as early as two years old. COVID-19 immunizations are available to children as young as five years old in the United States and several European countries, however the United States is working swiftly to extend vaccinations to children as young as five years old.
In recent days, local city and provincial administrations in at least five Chinese provinces issued letters requiring children aged 3 to 11 to obtain their vaccines.
The vaccine effort is being expanded as sections of China impose tighter restrictions in an attempt to contain tiny outbreaks. Following the discovery of additional COVID-19 cases in Gansu, a northwestern region that is highly reliant on tourism, the province banned all tourist destinations on Monday. Because of an epidemic, residents in regions of Inner Mongolia have been instructed to stay indoors.
Over the last 24 hours, the National Health Commission recorded 35 new instances of local transmission, four of which were in Gansu. A total of 19 instances have been discovered in Inner Mongolia, with others distributed around the country.
Throughout the epidemic, China has used lockdowns, quarantines, and mandatory testing to virtually eradicate local infection while fully vaccination 1.07 billion individuals out of a population of 1.4 billion.
The government is particularly concerned about tourists spreading the more dangerous delta type and having a largely vaccinated people in time for the Beijing Olympics in February. International spectators have already been barred from the Winter Games, and athletes will be enclosed in a bubble that separates them from the general public.
Based on public statistics, China’s most extensively used vaccinations, from Sinopharm and Sinovac, have demonstrated efficacy in reducing serious sickness and viral transmission. However, the level of security they provide against the delta form has yet to be determined, despite officials’ assurances.
Individual cities in Hubei, Fujian, and Hainan provinces have all issued provincial-level notices announcing additional vaccine mandates, as have individual cities in Zhejiang and Hunan provinces.
China licensed two vaccinations for children aged 3 to 17 in June — Sinopharm’s from the Beijing Institute of Biological Products and Sinovac — but it has only been vaccinating those 12 and older. Another, Sinopharm’s from the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, was cleared by authorities in August.
Following China’s clearance of the vaccinations for children, international governments began administering the doses to youngsters in their own countries. In Cambodia, children aged 6 to 11 receive both Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines. Chilean regulators have authorized Sinovac for youngsters as young as six years old. In Argentina, the Sinopharm vaccination was licensed for children as young as three years old.
Many underdeveloped nations who were unable to obtain vaccines from Western pharmaceutical corporations such as Pfizer and Moderna purchased Chinese vaccines instead. According to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, more than 1.2 billion pills had been sent as of September.
Despite widespread usage in the United States and across the world, not every parent is confident in the vaccination, citing a lack of publicly available data on the doses.
Wang Lu, who lives in Fujian province’s southern city of Fuzhou, said she isn’t in a rush to have her 3-year-old son vaccinated. “I’m simply not sure about the vaccine’s safety profile,” Wang explained. “At the very least, I don’t want to be the first to get him inoculated.”
In September, Sinovac began an efficacy study with 14,000 children from several nations. Smaller phase 1 and phase 2 studies were used to get clearance in China. On the basis of smaller phase 1 and phase 2 studies, Sinopharm’s Beijing shot was also authorized. Later on, they were published in peer-reviewed journals.
Other parents claimed they were unconcerned because so many others had already had the vaccine.
Wu Cong, a mother of a 7-year-old girl, claimed her daughter’s Shanghai school had not yet informed her of any immunizations.
“I don’t believe this is that different from the flu vaccination,” Wu said. “There have already been so many individuals vaccinated that I don’t have too many concerns.”