CHINA / SOCIETY
UPDATE: More cities including Beijing begin to vaccinate minors aged 12 to 17
78% of China’s population may be inoculated by year end
Published: Jul 13, 2021 09:01 PM Updated: Jul 20, 2021 11:39 PM
A medical worker in protective suit collects a swab sample from a boy for COVID-19 nucleic acid testing in the subdistrict of Baihedong in Liwan District of Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, June 12, 2021. (Photo:Xinhua)

A medical worker in protective suit collects a swab sample from a boy for COVID-19 nucleic acid testing in the subdistrict of Baihedong in Liwan District of Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, June 12, 2021. (Photo:Xinhua)

Beijing began to vaccinate minors aged 12 to 17 on Tuesday after South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the city of Jingzhou, in Central China's Hubei Province, announced last week their specific schedules for the vaccination of minors on that age range. 

Beijing will start to vaccinate high school students aged 15 to 17 in July, and middle school students aged 12 to 14 later in August. The Chinese capital has administered 35.98 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines as of Saturday. Over 90 percent of the city's population aged over 18 has been fully vaccinated. 

The government of East China's Zhejiang Province also announced on Tuesday that the province will begin to vaccinate local residents aged 12 to 17 starting in August. 

This comes one month after China approved the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines among groups aged from 3 to 17 in June.

South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the city of Jingzhou in Central China’s Hubei Province announced on Tuesday that they will begin to vaccinate minors aged from 12 to 17 and have formulated specific schedules for the vaccination plan. This comes one month after China approved the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines among groups aged from 3 to 17 in June. 

The region and the city are believed to be the country’s first two places that are taking the lead in inoculating the age group. An insider from the vaccine industry revealed that 16 provinces in the Chinese mainland will also start vaccinating people aged from 15-17 in July and the rest 16 provinces will follow in August. 

According to local newspaper Guangxi Daily, the vaccination process will be conducted in three steps. In July, people aged from 15 to 17 will receive the first dose. The second dose will be administered in August, at the same time those aged from 12 to 14 will be getting their first dose. The region vows to accomplish the vaccination campaign by the end of October. 

Latest data released by the region’s health commission showed that as of June 27, Guangxi has administered more than 33 million doses of vaccines, among which 15.8 million people have completed the second dose, three days ahead of the country’s schedule for the first half of the year. 

Besides, the disease control and prevention center of Jingzhou, Hubei also released a notice on vaccination on Tuesday, saying that the city will begin vaccinating minors aged from 12 to 17 and those above 60 from August 1. 

China is expected to administer COVID-19 vaccines to at least 70 percent of the targeted population by year end. And expanding the use of vaccines to minors is an important part to help Chinese people achieve herd immunity. 

Tao Lina, a Shanghai-based vaccine expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday that a video conference was held on Monday to summarize the experience of vaccination in the first half of the year and to make arrangements on the target of the other second half. 

According to Tao, all provinces in the Chinese mainland will start vaccinating minors aged from 12 to 17 in the next few months. The goal is to make sure that 91 percent of the group will be fully inoculated. By the end of the year, 78 percent of the total population will be vaccinated, Tao said.  
  
Some schools have already started asking the willingness of parents whose children are aged below 17 on vaccination, Tao said. 

China approved Sinopharm and Sinovac shots for emergency use for children aged 3 to 17 in June. 

On June 29, Sinovac demonstrated safety, tolerability and immunogenicity for the group, which boosted public confidence in rolling out vaccinations for the young generation. 

CoronaVac is well tolerated in children and adolescents aged 3-17 years. It induces a strong immune response, which is very encouraging. We will carry out further large-scale, multi-ethnic population studies in order to provide valuable data for immunization strategies for children and adolescents, Gao Qiang, general manager of Sinovac, said in a statement to the Global Times. 
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