Hong Kong said on Wednesday it had approved a form of the BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for babies and children under five years old, in a bid to expand measures to increase vaccination uptake in the financial hub.
The government said talks were being held with the vaccine manufacturer on the timeframe for when it would be available in the Chinese special administrative region. The government announced that each shot contains one-tenth of the adult dosage, lowering the chance of side effects.
The government agreed to the use of China’s Sinovac shots for children 6 months and older in August. Sinovac and BioNTech are the two vaccines available for the residents of Hong Kong.
Nearly 7% of infants younger than two have been injected with a COVID vaccine, a rate that is far from good, authorities have said.
About 86% of children aged 3-11 have received at least one vaccine dose, a higher percentage than that of people above 70.
The government has identified the city’s elderly and infants as being the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and said there have been many acute COVID cases in children who required intensive care.
The elderly vaccination rate remains slow, with only about 58% of people 80 and older receiving three vaccine shots.