CoronaVac, the vaccine from Butantan and Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac, is already administered to children aged between 3 and 11 years in different countries around the world. China, Hong Kong, Chile, Ecuador, Indonesia and Cambodia authorized the use of CoronaVac after the most recent studies proved its efficacy and safety in immunizing children and adolescents against Covid-19.
China was a pioneer in this regard and authorized the use of CoronaVac in children as young as three at the end of May. Chile announced the age group change in September. Ecuador authorized the use of the immunizing agent in October, and Indonesia, Hong Kong and Cambodia extended their age range for immunization against SARS-CoV-2 in November.
See what each country has determined and the corresponding age groups.
In China, CoronaVac was approved for emergency use in children ages 3-17 on May 28. According to the Chinese Ministry of Health, the country has already vaccinated 84 million children between 3 and 11 years old across China, and more than 49 million have already received booster doses.
More than 2.5 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines were administered across China as of early December, representing 79% of the country's fully vaccinated population, according to the Chinese government.
The country offers CoronaVac and two other vaccines from the pharmaceutical company Sinopharm in its immunization program against Covid-19.
Chile authorized the use of CoronaVac in children from the age of three in September, after having already started to vaccinate children aged six to 11 years with the immunizer. In Chile, children take two doses of the vaccine 28 days apart.
According to the Chilean Public Health Institute, the expansion of the child age group was based on the analysis of studies by the Chinese laboratory Sinovac, which included data on 100 million doses applied to children aged between 3 and 17 years. The study considered the vaccine safe for this age group by reporting a very small number of non-serious adverse events, 3.67 cases per 100,000 doses.
Preliminary reports from the phase 3 clinical trial of CoronaVac in Chile, carried out by the Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, showed that children have higher antibody production than adults and have fewer adverse reactions.
"The authorization of the CoronaVac vaccine from the age of three is good news. Such authorization is supported by the clinical study carried out in Chile that showed that boys and girls have greater production of antibodies than adults and fewer adverse reactions," stated the minister of Science and Technology of Chile, Andrés Couve, during the announcement of the expansion of the vaccination age range.
Indonesia authorized the use of CoronaVac for children aged six to 11 in November. Previously, the vaccine was authorized for administration in adolescents aged 12 years or older and adults.
According to the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM), the Indonesian regulatory body, the decision was based on the results of phase 1 and 2 clinical trials carried out in China involving 550 children aged between six and 11 years, which showed that the vaccine provided immunogenicity for 96% of recipients and offered similar efficacy to previous trials for children over 12 years of age.
The agency is considering increasing the age of authorization for the immunizing agent for children under six years of age.
CoronaVac is the most administered vaccine in Ecuador, and the immunizing agent has been recommended for children aged five to 11 years in the country since October. According to the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health, 64.5% of children in this age group have already received the first dose of the immunizing agent and 20% the second dose.
The safety of inactivated virus vaccines was also a preference factor for CoronaVac in this age group, said Cristina Aldaz, institutional manager for Ecuador's National Vaccination Plan.
“CoronaVac is very similar to the attenuated virus vaccines that are already administered to newborns in the regular vaccination plan in the country”, she said in a virtual lecture with experts to explain the benefits of CoronaVac for young children.
The Hong Kong government approved the use of CoronaVac in children as young as three on November 20. Before that, the country had already authorized the emergency use of CoronaVac in adolescents from 12 years of age and in adults.
In a statement, the government stated that ""vaccination can protect children from coronavirus infection and allow them to return to school and normal life as quickly as possible.""
Cambodia began vaccinating five-year-olds with CoronaVac in November. The immunizing agent will be administered in two doses, 28 days apart.
According to the country's prime minister, Samdech Techo Hun Sem, the expansion of the age group took place after the country finished vaccinating children aged six years or more eight months ahead of schedule.
"As of Oct. 31, Cambodia had vaccinated 85.68%, or 13.7 million of its population of 16 million," he stated.