HONG KONG (Reuters) — Hong Kong on Tuesday reduced the minimum age for getting vaccinated with China’s Sinovac COVID-19 shot to 6 months from 3 years after several young children became infected with the virus.
Adults and children in the Asian financial hub, which retains some of the world’s toughest COVID precautions, are required to have at least three coronavirus vaccine shots.
“Recently a series of young children have been infected with the new coronavirus. The situation of severe illness and even death is of great concern,” the government said in a statement announcing the reduction in age.
The government said it was also negotiating with China’s Fosun, which supplies Germany’s BioNtech vaccine, to purchase a formula of that vaccine for children.
The minimum age to get a shot of the BioNtech vaccine is 5.
About 90% of Hong Kong’s more than 7 million people have had two doses of a coronavirus vaccine and about 67% have had three.
Residents can choose between China’s Sinovac and BioNtech.
A government advisory panel on Monday recommended that a fourth vaccine dose be given to those over 50.
The Chinese-ruled city has reported more than 1.3 million COVID cases and 9,500 deaths since the pandemic started, most of which occurred this February and March due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant.
(Reporting by Farah Master and Twinnie Siu; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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