Children aged 3 to 11 will now be obliged to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination, according to announcements issued by local and provincial Chinese governments on Monday.
China, One of the Few Countries To Vaccinate Children
In a recently published article in Newsweek, China's new vaccination requirement comes as the government implements additional measures to combat minor outbreaks of the virus, including lockdowns, quarantine, and mandatory testing.
China is one of the few countries that permits children as young as two years old to get vaccinated, following the footsteps of Cuba, which allows immunizations for infants as young as two years old. Meanwhile, strong vaccination regulations and a zero-tolerance approach toward outbreaks have resulted in 1.07 billion individuals, or 76 percent of the country's population, being completely vaccinated.
On the other hand, many countries, like the United States and many others, have not started vaccinating children as early as China and Cuba, but they do allow vaccinations for those aged 12 and above, with the United States planning to offer vaccinations for 5-to-11-year-old children in the near future, according to a published report in New York Post.
Spread of Delta Variant in China
The government is particularly worried about tourists spreading the more infectious Delta type and having fully vaccinated people in time for the Beijing Olympics in February. International spectators have already been barred from the Winter Games, and athletes will be enclosed in a bubble that separates them from the general public.
Meanwhile, over the last 24 hours, the National Health Commission recorded 35 new instances of local transmission, four of which were in Gansu. A total of 19 instances have been discovered in Inner Mongolia, with others distributed around the nation, according to a report published in Yahoo News.
Sinopharm, Sinovac Remain as China's Most Widely Used Vaccines
Based on public statistics, China's most extensively used vaccines are Sinopharm and Sinovac. They have demonstrated effectiveness in reducing serious sickness and viral transmission. However, the level of protection they provide against the Delta variant has yet to be determined.
Additionally, China licensed these two vaccines for children aged 3 to 17 in June, according to a published article in Daily News. Meanwhile, another Sinopharm's from the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products was cleared by authorities in August.
Furthermore, individual cities in Hubei, Fujian, and Hainan provinces have issued provincial-level notifications announcing additional vaccine mandates like the individual cities in Zhejiang and Hunan provinces.
Foreign Governments Start To Inoculate Children
Following China's clearance of the vaccinations for children, international governments started administering the doses to youngsters in their own countries. In Cambodia, children aged 6 to 11 get both Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines. Chilean regulators have authorized Sinovac for youngsters as young as six years old. In Argentina, the Sinopharm vaccination was licensed for children as young as three years old.