Hong Kong approves baby version of BioNTech vaccine for toddlers


HONG KONG – Hong Kong said on Wednesday that it had approved a version of the BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for babies and children under five years old, part of broader measures to boost vaccination uptake in the financial hub.

The government said it was discussing with the vaccine manufacturer the time frame for when it would be available in the Chinese special administrative region.

The government has said that each shot contained one-tenth of the adult dosage, reducing the chance of side effects.

The government approved the use of China’s Sinovac shots for children six months and older, in August.

Sinovac and BioN Techare are the two vaccines available for Hong Kong residents.

About 7% of infants younger than two have had a Covid vaccine, a rate that is far from satisfactory, authorities have said.

About 86% of children, aged three to 11, have had at least one vaccine dose, a higher percentage than that of people older than 70.

The government has singled out the city’s elderly and infants as being the most vulnerable to Covid-19 and said there had been several severe Covid cases involving children who required intensive care.

The elderly vaccination rate remains lagging; about 58%of people 80 and older have had three vaccine shots.

Hong Kong had included children aged five and older in the government’s vaccine pass programme, which required them to have two doses by November 30, the government said.

The pass is needed to access venues from supermarkets and restaurants to sports centres.

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