Monday, October 25, 2021

Several Chinese Provinces Begin COVID Vaccination For Children Aged 3-11


Although China usually only reports a few dozen COVID cases a day, and boasts a high vaccination rate among adults - they remain highly concerned - particularly with the 2022 Winter Olympics only months away. 

In a lengthy news conference yesterday (see Transcript of the press conference of the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council on October 24, 2021), Chinese officials described the current situation, and warned that more cases were likely (translated excerpt below).

Director Mi Feng just briefed on the progress of the current round of the epidemic. First, the epidemic has a wide spread. The vast majority of people who have been infected across regions are related to tourist groups or self-driving. There is a large cross-regional mobility of potentially risky personnel, and many provinces are involved, and there is a risk of further spread of the epidemic. The second is highly contagious. The virus in the current epidemic is a delta mutant strain. The high viral nucleic acid load of respiratory samples in some cases indicates that the virus has a large amount of toxin removal and strong transmission, and the risk of recurring transmission among exposed people is high.


Generally speaking, the current epidemic situation is in a rapid development stage, and the number of non-tourism cases has begun to increase. It is expected that as the investigation and screening of risk groups continues, the number of cases detected in the next few days will continue to increase. The scope of the epidemic may further expand.

          (Continue . . . )

The most recent report from China's National Health Commission reports only 39 confirmed cases (4 imported, 35 local) over the past 24 hours. Even assuming those numbers are reasonably accurate - and not just for public consumption - China seems to be signaling that they are in danger of losing control of the virus.

While China has fully vaccinated over 75% of their population, there are growing questions over both the amount and the duration of protection afforded by their vaccine (see Nature China’s COVID vaccines have been crucial — now immunity is waning).  

With winter approaching, and concerns that the the Delta variant could end China's tight control over the virus, at least 5 provinces have reportedly announced vaccination of children 3 to 11 years of age.  

While the official statement from the Hubei Provincial Health Commission (below) states that `New coronavirus vaccination is based on a voluntary principle . . . ',  it never quite makes it clear if it is optional. Several media reports, however, are characterizing this vaccine as a `requirement'.  

Of course, it may be a case of `Its only a suggestion, but let's not forget who's making it."

In any event, the (translated) announcement from Hubei Province follows:
Hubei Province launches new coronavirus vaccination for people aged 3-11

2021-10-25 10:13  |  Hubei Provincial Health Commission

In accordance with the unified deployment of the State Council's new crown pneumonia epidemic prevention and control mechanism and the provincial new crown pneumonia epidemic prevention and control headquarters, in order to further increase the coverage of new crown virus vaccination, build a herd immunity barrier as soon as possible, and continue to do a good job of vaccinating people over 12 years old. Last, Hubei Province launched the new crown virus vaccination work for people aged 3-11 years. Experts from the Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention are now answering the concerns of the masses.

1. Is it necessary for children aged 3-11 to be vaccinated against the new coronavirus?

Answer: Carrying out the new crown virus vaccination among children is an important part of strengthening the immune barrier of the whole population, and it is also an important measure to block the spread of the new crown virus. Children become ill after being infected with the new coronavirus, and some of them may develop critical illness and even cause death. New coronavirus vaccination is based on a voluntary principle, but schools are densely populated places. Once an imported new coronavirus epidemic occurs, it is easy to cause local spread. For example, the Fujian epidemic was first discovered in schools in September this year , and most of them were in schools, homes, and schools. Transmission occurred in workplaces and other places.

On the one hand, children's vaccinations against the new coronavirus can effectively reduce the risk of morbidity, severe illness and death; on the other hand, it can establish an immune barrier among children, block the spread of the new coronavirus, and ensure the normal operation of children's learning and life.

2. What is the new coronavirus vaccine approved for use among children in the 3-11 age group in China ? How safe is it? Is vaccination free? How many doses do I need? How long is the interval?

Answer: The new coronavirus vaccine currently approved for use in children aged 3-11 years is the inactivated new coronavirus vaccine (Vero cells ) produced by Sinopharm Zhongsheng Beijing Company, Sinopharm Zhongsheng Wuhan Company and Beijing Kexing Zhongwei Company .

According to clinical trial data, the children's group (3-11 years old ) is safe after being vaccinated, and is as safe as the adult group over 12 years old. At the same time, the antibody level is the same as that of adults. Children and adolescents are resistant to the new crown vaccine Receptiveness is good. Adverse reactions of vaccination are mainly fever and pain at the vaccination site. The new coronavirus vaccination for children aged 3-11 still implements the free policy for residents, and the inactivated vaccine (Vero cell ) immunization program is 2 doses, with an interval of 3 weeks between each dose .

3. Can the new coronavirus vaccine be vaccinated at the same time as other vaccines?

Answer: In principle, it cannot be vaccinated with other vaccines (including immunization program vaccines) at the same time, and the interval between vaccinations must be more than 14 days. Vaccination should give priority to guaranteeing national immunization program vaccines. In special circumstances, such as the subject who encounters an animal bite or has a trauma, the time interval should be ignored, and the rabies vaccine or tetanus vaccine should be vaccinated in time.

4. Under what circumstances can't get the new coronavirus vaccine ?

Answer: (1) Those who are allergic to the active ingredients of the vaccine, any inactive ingredients, the substances used in the production process, or those who have had allergies during the previous vaccination of similar vaccines; (2) Those who have had severe allergic reactions to the vaccine in the past (such as Acute allergic reactions, angioedema, dyspnea, etc.); (3) People suffering from uncontrolled epilepsy and other serious neurological diseases (such as transverse myelitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, demyelinating diseases, etc.); (4) Those who are feverish, or suffer from acute diseases, or the acute onset of chronic diseases, or patients with uncontrolled severe chronic diseases.
5. What are the precautions for children's vaccination against the new coronavirus? Is there any difference between the vaccination process and adult vaccination?

Answer: Children must be accompanied by their guardian during the whole process of vaccinating against the new coronavirus. Guardians need to understand the knowledge of new crown virus vaccination in advance, and bring their valid identity documents (ID card or household registration book, etc.) and the child’s "Vaccination Certificate" to the vaccination clinic to avoid the child from fasting and fatigue. Remind the child to wear loose clothes that day Clothes are convenient for vaccination.

Before vaccination, guardians and children should fully understand the "New Coronavirus Vaccination Informed Consent", truthfully inform their health conditions, cooperate with health inquiries and informed notifications, and be vaccinated only after they have been assessed by a doctor and the guardian has signed the informed consent. After vaccination, stay on the spot for 30 minutes to confirm that there is no abnormality before leaving; if you feel unwell, inform the doctor in time. After returning home, the guardian should pay attention to the child's condition. If the child has any unhealthy conditions, he should report it to the vaccination unit and seek medical treatment in time. Recently, the child should eat lightly, rest well, and avoid excessive exercise and fatigue.

6. Do children who have been infected with the new coronavirus still need to be vaccinated?

Answer : For children who have been infected by the new coronavirus pneumonia, one dose of the new coronavirus vaccine can be given 6 months after infection .

7. Is it completely safe after vaccination?

Answer: The effectiveness of any vaccine cannot reach 100% , so even if you are vaccinated with the new coronavirus vaccine, you must still adhere to personal health protection.
Although I limited faith in the overall accuracy of the numbers we get out of China, their daily COVID reports are likely to show us trends, and so we'll be keeping an eye on those reports as winter approaches.