HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Hong Kong approved lowering the age of eligibility for the Covid-19 vaccine from China's Sinovac Biotech to three years old, down from 18 years old.
The city's Secretary for Food and Health 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 (Nov 20).
Experts serving on panels for the Centre for Health Protection had earlier backed the new age limit.
The expansion of the eligible population comes as Hong Kong's immunisation campaign hits a wall. Vaccine hesitancy is ripe especially among the elderly population, many of whom refuse to even get one dose. Since the effort began in February, about 60 per cent of residents have been fully vaccinated, according to Bloomberg's Vaccine Tracker. That compares with over 80 per cent in Singapore.
The 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.