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Health officials mull buying BioNTech jabs for children between six months and five

No concrete decision as yet; SSM also considering whether to lower age limit for Sinopharm jabs to six months.

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No concrete decision as yet; SSM also considering whether to lower age limit for Sinopharm jabs to six months.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:39 am

The Macao Health Bureau (SSM) is planning to purchase BioNTech mRNA vaccines specifically for children aged at least six months but under five.

Currently, Germany’s BioNTech mRNA jabs are administered to those aged five or over in Macao, while the other type of Covid-19 vaccine currently available in the city, China’s Sinopharm inactivated vaccine, is used for those aged three years or over.

Leong Iek Hou, who heads the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Division, said that BioNTech mRNA vaccines specifically for children aged between five and 11 years had been delivered to Macao earlier this year, enabling the government to lower the minimum age for BioNTech mRNA jabs from 12 to five years. Leong said that the manufacturer has also successfully developed an mRNA vaccine specifically for children aged from six months through four years.

Leong said that before the latest Covid-19 outbreak that began on 18 June, the SSM had contacted the manufacturer about its intention to purchase the newly developed mRNA vaccine specifically for children aged at least six months but under five. The manufacturer has recently replied that it still does not have a timetable as to when it will be able to deliver the vaccines to Macao, Leong said.

Nevertheless, Leong said that the government has still not decided how many doses it will order, adding that the amount to be purchased would depend on the number of parents who want to choose mRNA vaccines for their children aged from six months through four years.

Leong also said that the SSM is assessing more scientific research data worldwide with the aim of deciding whether the minimum age for Sinopharm inactivated jabs can also be lowered to six months in Macao.

Leong said that the bureau has been aware that the Hong Kong government has recently decided to lower the minimum age for Covid-19 inactivated jabs to six months, adding that the SSM will also take this into consideration in its assessment. The Covid-19 inactivated vaccine administered in Hong Kong is China’s Sinovac.

Lei Wai Seng, a clinical director of the Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, noted during the daily Covid-19 briefing that the SSM has now resumed Covid-19 vaccinations at all public health centres, which had paused after the outbreak that began on 18 June.  

Lei also said that while senior citizens or unvaccinated individuals infected with Covid-19 during the outbreak had normally not come down with very serious symptoms and only a small number of them had been classified as serious cases, it took them a relatively long time to eventually test negative for Covid-19 in a nucleic acid test following isolation treatment compared to younger people or vaccinated individuals. He urged unvaccinated people to get their Covid-19 jabs as soon as possible.

In addition to public health centres, Macao’s Covid-19 vaccinations are also carried out at some other facilities such as the Macao Forum complex in ZAPE, The Macau Post Daily reported.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:39 am

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