China to extend mass vaccination program to minors

People stay for observation after receiving COVID-19 vaccines at a vaccination site in Jiangxia District in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province.

Beijing, (Asian independent) A number of provinces, regions and municipalities across China have announced that they extend a mass Covid-19 vaccination program for minors aged between 12 and 17 phase wise, authorities said on Sunday.

Heilongjiang plans to administer vaccines to middle and high school students between the ages of 12 and 17 from this month, according to the provincial centre for disease control and prevention.

Before vaccination, a minor’s legal guardian will be provided with all relevant information to ensure his or her child is informed, consenting and voluntarily vaccinated, reports Xinhua news agency.

The guardian should remain with their child during vaccination, said the centre.

Heilongjiang is expected to carry out mass vaccination for minors in stages and by age, from senior students to those in junior grades.

The province’s initial plan is to complete the two-dose process in September.

Meanwhile, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region will first vaccinate teens aged between 15 and 17 in July, and start vaccinating those aged 12 to 14 in August.

The region’s 12-17 age group is expected to complete vaccinations by the end of October this year.

Most students from primary, junior high and senior high schools, secondary vocational schools and technical schools are included in the targeted age groups.

Parents or guardians are required to read consent forms thoroughly and sign their informed consent before vaccination, and accompany their children on-site while they are being vaccinated.

Consultation hotlines will be opened to answer questions related to vaccination. Minors aged between 12 and 17 and senior citizens over 60 will be the region’s focus in its vaccination strategy in the second half of this year, said the region’s health commission.

The city of Jingzhou in Hubei province will focus on vaccinating minors aged between 12 and 17 and people over 60 from August, according to the city’s health authorities.

Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, will research and draw up vaccination plans for the city’s residents aged 12 to 17, said the city’s health commission.

China’s ongoing mass vaccination campaign mainly targets adults aged over 18, with nearly 1.44 billion doses administered across the country till date.

In June, China approved the emergency use of its domestic inactivated Covid-19 vaccines on minors aged from three to 17.