Health Desk – 05 June, 2021: Hong Kong will open its COVID-19 vaccine scheme to children aged 12 and above for the first time, the government said on Thursday, as it pursues a broader campaign across the city to incentivise its 7.5 million residents to get vaccinated.
Children of that age group will be able to get Germany’s BioNTech vaccine, but residents still have to be older than 18 to receive China’s Sinovac shot.The Chinese special administrative region started its COVID-19 vaccination programme in February but only around 14% of the population have been fully vaccinated.
In a statement published on Thursday, the city’s Health Secretary Sophia Chan said the benefits of reducing the age of vaccination with the BioNTech vaccine outweighed the risks.
“It can not only protect young people from the new coronavirus infection, it also helps them to return to normal campus and daily life as soon as possible,” said Chan.
The city has largely controlled the virus with around 11,800 infections and 210 deaths, with the majority of residents choosing to delay vaccinations. It widened the scheme to include those aged over 16 years old in April.