Children as young as three in Hong Kong will be able to get the Chinese-made Sinovac coronavirus vaccine, with priority given to those aged 12 to 17.

The clearance, which came a day after government officials proposed decreasing the vaccination age, was anticipated to open the path for all schools to resume full-day sessions.

Only German-produced BioNTech vaccinations are presently available to children aged 12 and above so that this change will give an option for teens.

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Hong Kong Children as Young as 3 May Now Get Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine

In a statement released on Saturday, the Secretary for Food and Health (SFH) said that teenagers aged 12 to 17 would be given priority in receiving the CoronaVac vaccination to expand to children of a lower age group at a later date.

According to the statement, the benefits of allowing the age eligibility extension to include individuals aged three to seventeen "outweigh the hazards."

The SFH had previously proposed that a Hong Kong government advisory council approve the increased age restriction on COVID-19 vaccinations, the statement added.

The government clarified that they would prioritize vaccinating the teens aged 12 to 17, with younger beneficiaries added later. The initiative will be implemented "as soon as possible." In Hong Kong, the minimum age for receiving Sinovac vaccinations is now 18.

The increase in the age limit comes as the Asian financial hub's immunization program, which began in February, has trailed behind many other industrialized countries, with only approximately 67 percent of the population receiving two doses from Sinovac or BioNTech Germany.

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Hong Kong Buys Additional 1 Million Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccines

In a separate statement obtained by Reuters on Friday, Hong Kong said it had purchased 1 million extra doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in preparation for the third dosage of COVID-19 vaccination.

Hong Kong has followed Beijing's example in maintaining severe travel restrictions to prevent fresh COVID outbreaks in contrast to a global trend of opening up and living with the coronavirus.

International business lobby organizations have warned that unless Hong Kong loosens its travel restrictions, it risks losing talent and investment and competitive ground to rival finance centers such as Singapore.

Despite the lack of recent local cases and a COVID-19-free environment, Hong Kong has implemented a required hotel quarantine of up to 21 days for arrivals from most countries at the expense of travelers.

Many Teenagers Waiting for Sinovac Vaccine, Expert Says

Professor Lau Yu-lung, head of the Centre for Health Protection's Scientific Committee on Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, claimed that many teenagers waited for the Sinovac vaccine.

He predicted that the measure would help raise the immunization rate among kids from the current 70 percent to as high as 90 percent.

According to South China Morning Post, the recent decision will help pave the path for all schools to resume full-day sessions.

The data examined on Friday, according to Lau, demonstrated that the vaccine was safe and trustworthy for the younger age range, with no alarming signals.

According to Professor David Hui Shu-Cheong, a government pandemic consultant, the Sinovac immunization program might be expanded to primary school students early next year, followed by kindergarten students.

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