Press Releases in Hong Kong

HK approves Sinovac vaccine for ages 3-17, logs 3 new virus cases

The Sinovac vaccine. (DIMAS ARDIAN / BLOOMBERG)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong approved lowering the age of eligibility for the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to three years old, down from 18 years old, as the financial hub reported three new infections on Saturday. 

The city’s Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said adolescents from 12-to-17 years will be accorded priority to receive the vaccine, “with a view to extending to children of a younger age group at a later stage,” according to a statement on Saturday. 

Hong Kong authorities said they considered that the benefits of approving the extension of age eligibility outweighed the risks

Experts serving on panels for the Centre for Health Protection had earlier backed the new age limit.

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

Hong Kong authorities said they considered that the benefits of approving the extension of age eligibility outweighed the risks. 

“Doing so can protect them from COVID-19 infection and also enable them to resume normal school and daily life as soon as possible,” according to the statement.

The government will announce the relevant arrangements for first providing the Sinovac vaccine to adolescents aged 12 to 17 as soon as practicable, the statement reads.

ALSO READ: Hong Kong donates 7.5m Astra vaccines to COVAX

Since the launch of the citywide COVID-19 vaccination program, some 4.69 million people have received at least one dose, representing 69.7 percent of the eligible population. More than 4.49 million people, or 66.7 percent of the eligible population, were fully vaccinated with two doses. 

Meanwhile, some 70,189 people have received the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since the rollout of the booster jab for immunocompromized and high-risk groups on Nov 11.

Starting from Nov 23, the booster program will be extended to residents who have been fully vaccinated with the Sinovac jab for at least six months.

The new COVID-19 infections reported on Saturday involved two men aged 48 and 62, respectively, as well as a 31-year-old foreign domestic helper from the Philippines

The city reported three new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, bringing the tally to 12, 399.

"The newly reported cases are imported cases which involved mutant strains," the CHP said in a separate statement.

The patients involved two men aged 48 and 62, respectively, as well as a 31-year-old foreign domestic helper from the Philippines.

The maid, who flew in to Hong Kong from on Cebu Pacific flight 5J272 on Oct 23, tested positive for COVID-19 at a community testing center after she completed compulsory quarantine at the government's quarantine center at Penny's Bay.

Since a mutant strain was involved, the government set on Friday evening the Happy Valley building where she lives as a restricted area, requiring residents there to undergo compulsory testing. A total of around 130 residents were tested and no new case was detected.

The remaining two patients tested positive during quarantine.

A total of 36 cases have been reported in the past 14 days and all of them were imported, the CHP added.

With inputs from Agencies