As a part of Phase III clinical trials, South Africa on Friday started the inoculation of children and adolescents with the Chinese-made Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine. The first day of the trial vaCOVID-19: South Africa inoculates 2,000 children in trial of China's Sinovac vaccination witnessed children aged between 6 months and 17 years being jabbed. South Africa plans to enroll nearly 2,000 participants for China-made vaccine trials, while 12,000 others will participate from Kenya, the Philippines, Chile, and Malaysia, the Associated Press reported, citing Sinovac and local partner Numolux Group. Children were seen getting vaccinated on the first day of the inoculation drive at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in the capital Pretoria.
“The primary objective of the study is to evaluate the efficacy of two doses of the CoronaVac against confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 cases in children and adolescents,” Vaccine maker Sinovac stated in a statement on Friday, Sept. 10. Shots were being administered at six different sites across the African nation.
As many as 7 million people have been fully vaccinated with the single-shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in South Africa. Sinovac's CoronaVac, an inactivated vaccine developed by SINOVAC Life Sciences Co., Ltd. (“SINOVAC") got approval for emergency use for children and adolescents aged between 6 and 17. The data shows the number of infected children has been rising because they are not vaccinated.
"To continue protecting the population, we have approved CoronaVac® for children aged six and up," ISP Director Heriberto Garcia said. Sinovac was tested on the child population 3 to 17 years of age in China in July. It was approved for emergency use in the population of 3-17 years old on 28 May, in China. Lancet Infectious Diseases published results from the Phase I/II clinical trials of inactivated COVID-19 vaccine developed by SINOVAC known as CoronaVac in healthy children aged 3 to 17 years in China citing its safety of use.
As first kids in South Africa got jabbed on Friday, Sinovac said that the vaccine’s efficacy among children will also be evaluated against hospitalisation and severe COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, project director Sanet Aspinall reportedly stated that there have been “a lot of milder and less severe diseases in children, but they still remain susceptible”. She further cautioned that the children are able to transmit COVID-19 to the rest of the population. President of the South African Medical Research Council, Glenda Gray told a press event on 10 September that “delaying the inclusion of children in the COVID vaccine trials delays our ability to contain COVID-19”. While South Africa accounts for 35 percent of the total COVID-19 cases in the whole of Africa, the country’s goal is to vaccinate at least 40 million people of its 60 million population by the end of the year, 2021.