Press Releases in Hong Kong

Govt experts advise teens aged 12-17 to get Sinovac vaccine

People queue up outside a vaccination center for BioNTech in Hong Kong on April 6, 2021. (VINCENT YU / AP)

HONG KONG – Medical experts advising the Hong Kong government on the COVID-19 vaccine recommended that adolescents between 12 and 17 get the Sinovac shots before the jabs are given to younger children.

The Centre for Health Protection’s joint scientific committee made the call on Friday, days after an advisory panel endorsed lowering the minimum age for receiving the mainland-made shot to three years from 18.

Yet the joint committee noted that phase 1 and 2 trials on the use of Sinovac vaccine in people aged three to 17 years showed that the vaccine is "immunogenic, safe and well-tolerated."

The Centre for Health Protection's joint committee noted that phase 1 and 2 trials on the use of Sinovac vaccine in people aged three to 17 years showed that the vaccine is "immunogenic, safe and well-tolerated"

"In addition, ongoing phase 3 studies on the use of CoronaVac vaccine in children and adolescents aged three to 17 years showed that CoronaVac vaccine is well-tolerated," the committee said. CoronaVac is the brand name of the inactivated vaccine produced by Sinovac.

ALSO READ: HK overtakes US in COVID-19 vaccinations, sees 5 new cases

In another development, the government announced the purchase of an extra 1 million doses of BioNTech vaccine to facilitate the rollout of the booster for some groups of people.

The new batch of the vaccine, filled and finished at a plant in Germany’s Baxter, arrived in the city Friday morning as arranged by FosunPharma.

Together with the 7.5 million doses that arrived earlier, Hong Kong had purchased 8.5 million doses of the BioNTech vaccine in total, a spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection said in a statement issued on Friday afternoon. 

A student from Christian Nationals' Evangelism Commission Lau Wing Sang Secondary School receives her COVID-19 vaccination at the Community Vaccination Centre at Queen Elizabeth Stadium through group bookings on July 14, 2021. (PHOTO/HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

"The purchase of 1 million extra doses of the Comirnaty vaccine is for the gradual implementation of third dose COVID-19 vaccination,” the spokesman said, appealing members of the public who have not received the first and second doses to do so as soon as possible. Comirnaty is the brand name for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The purchase of 1 million extra doses of the Comirnaty vaccine is for the gradual implementation of third dose COVID-19 vaccination.

Centre for Health Protection

“More persons will be eligible to receive the third dose of a vaccine later with their second dose received for more than six months,” the spokesperson explained.

“If we have to cater for third dose vaccination and those who delayed their first and second doses at the same time, it might be possible that both vaccination appointments and vaccines will be in tight supply," the spokesman said.

ALSO READ: COVID-19: HK logs 3 imported cases, probes 2 re-positive cases

The government announced on early this month that eligible groups with high risks of infection with COVID-19 can receive a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine free of charge starting from Nov 11.

Starting from Nov 23, the eligibility will further be extended to residents who were fully vaccinated with the Sinovac jab for at least six months.

As of Thursday night, a total of 64,104 people have taken the booster shot in Hong Kong, government data showed.

Meanwhile, around 4.69 million people, or 69.6 percent of the eligible population, have taken at least one dose of the vaccine, while around 4.49 million, or 66.7 percent, are fully vaccinated.

Hong Kong reported one new COVID-19 infection on Friday, bringing the tally to 12,397.

In a separate statement, the CHP said the new case was an imported case involving a 34-year-old woman who had traveled from the Philippines.

The patient, who stayed at Penny's Bay Quarantine Centre after arriving in the city, was asymptomatic and carried the L452R mutant strain, according to the CHP.

READ MORE: HK sees 4 virus cases, extends booster shot arrangements

She received two doses of the Sinovac vaccine in the Philippines on May 30 and June 27, respectively, the CHP added.

A total of 36 cases have been reported between Nov 5 and 18 and all of them are imported, the CHP said.

The tally in the financial hub stood at 12,397.

With Xinhua inputs