Expert wants jab drive to cover children
China's Sinovac vaccine should be sanctioned for use in children aged three and older by the year's end to boost efforts to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19, virologist Yong Poovorawan says.
The head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University recommended in his Facebook post that children aged three years old and over should be vaccinated and the vaccine made by Sinovac was the best option as the side effects were less severe.
"If we are to achieve herd immunity, the vaccination must include children. The rollout should start by year's end at the latest," Dr Yong said.
Despite children mostly developing mild symptoms, they can spread the virus to older people who are at risk of more severe illnesses, he said. Dr Yong said children will receive "safe" Covid-19 vaccines and assured they will be able to return to school soon.
Covid-19 vaccination drives for children are being launched around the world. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorised by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use on children aged 12 and older, while Chinese authorities have also approved the Sinovac vaccine for children as young as three.
Meanwhile, Chinese authorities lowered the age limit for people receiving the Sinovac vaccine to three years old in early June, a decision which Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said he had noted.
Asked about the Pfizer vaccine, Mr Anutin said on June 11 the government was targeting its use on children aged 12 and up. Indonesia has also recommended Sinovac be used on children over 12. Jabs will commence once the country's food and drug agency approves it for emergency use.