China begins vaccinating people over 60, chronically ill

Shanghai, China, Mar 30 (efe-epa).- People aged 60 and above and those with comorbidities will be vaccinated against coronavirus in China after inoculation of health personnel and frontline workers.

According to the National Health Commission, Beijing and Shanghai have already started vaccinating people in the age group and those with chronic diseases.

The health authorities Monday said clinical research data had shown that vaccination was safe for senior citizens. It also noted Covid-19 vaccine booster shots were not recommended as of now.

The guidelines were released by the health commission after the number of vaccination shots in the country reached 100 million Sunday.

According to the latest official data, China has administered 106.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of Monday.

China has authorized five Covid-19 vaccines for conditional marketing or emergency use.

The safety of all these vaccines has been proven, it noted.

According to the guidelines, the antibody titers of the elderly after vaccination is slightly lower compared with people aged 18-59.

But the seroconversion rate of neutralizing antibodies is similar, said the guidelines.

When China announced its vaccination plan for people with a higher risk of contagion last year-end, it indicated that the next step would be to vaccinate those over 60 and chronically ill.

As of now, the health commission has not recommended vaccinating children below 18.

Zhang Yuntao, vice-president of China National Biotech Group, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm, said the company would start consultation with the National Medical Products Administration and vaccination of people aged between 3 and 17 was expected to start soon.

Zhang said the company had started Phase I and II clinical vaccination trials of people in the age group in Central China’s Henan province last year.

The trials have shown that the vaccine’s safety in the age group has met expectations, and data on the effectiveness has been obtained.

The health commission is also against booster shots and recommends that the vaccination be completed with the same serum.

However, it has authorized that under “special circumstances” antigens from another manufacturer could be used as long as they are the same type. EFE


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