Thailand’s top virologist Yong Poovorawan has suggested that the Sinovac vaccine be given to children older than 3 years old by the end of 2021 in an effort to reach Covid-19 herd immunity. The doctor who heads the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University said he believes that the Chinese vaccine has the least severe side effects so should be safest for children to receive.
Yong explains that while children are not terribly affected by Covid-19 and experience only mild symptoms usually, the virus is still fully capable of spreading from these infected children to adults and older family members who could experience much more severe consequences. He believes that vaccinating children is the pathway to reach vaccination levels high enough for achieving herd immunity.
“If we are to achieve herd immunity, the vaccination must include children. The rollout should start by year’s end at the latest,”
Yong has recently come under criticism for a variety of Covid-19 missteps including attempting to delay second doses of AstraZeneca to 16 weeks and favouring a third Sinovac shot instead of advocating for more effective vaccines to be imported into Thailand.
Sinovac has already been approved for use in children 3 years and older in China’s mass vaccination drives. At the beginning of last month, China changed its policy to allow vaccinations at such a young age. At the time, the lowered age threshold was acknowledged by Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.
In the US the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for vaccinating children 12 years or older. Indonesia has already followed in the United States’ footsteps and plans on using Sinovac on children 12 and older. They are currently awaiting the Indonesian Food and Drug Agency to approve the Chinese vaccine for emergency use.
Anutin had commented last month that he had considered approving the Pfizer vaccine for use in Thailand on children over the age of 12 just as the United States vaccination programs do.
SOURCE: The Phuket News
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