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Thai health authorities approve Sinovac, Sinopharm vaccines for use in children

BANGKOK (XINHUA) – Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Friday it approved the use of China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines for people six years and older.

Previously, the FDA only permitted the two vaccines to be used on people aged 18 and above.

The FDA announcement came as the Southeast Asian country has been accelerating vaccine roll-out to step up protection against Covid-19.

On Friday, the country reported 9,909 new confirmed cases during the last 24 hours, the highest daily case tally in more than three months, raising the total number of infections to over 2.47 million, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

As of Thursday, 70.1 per cent of the country’s nearly 70-million population had been fully vaccinated, while 21.4 per cent had received booster shots, according to the CCSA.

In December 2021, Thailand’s FDA gave the green light to allow children aged five to 11 to receive the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

“Previously, two vaccines were approved for use in adults aged 18 and above at 0.5cc per recipient. Now children aged six and above can also get them at the same quantity,” FDA Secretary-General Dr Paisan Dankhum announced, reports The Nation Thailand.

The Sinovac vaccine will be imported by the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO), while Sinopharm by Biogenetech Ltd.

“The two companies submitted documents to the FDA to expand the range of those covered by both vaccines to the ages of three to 17. The FDA committee considered the current data and agreed that the vaccines can be safely used in children as young as six,” said Paisan.

“More information is needed before the committee can approve the use of two vaccines in children aged three to five, and the FDA has notified the two importers to submit necessary documents as soon as possible.”

Before Friday, the Thai FDA had only approved Pfizer’s mRNA paediatric formulation in orange-cap vials for children above the age of five.