Chile approves vaccination against COVID-19 for children from 3 to 6 years old

SANTIAGO —

Chile’s drug regulator approved on Thursday the vaccination against COVID-19 of children between the ages of 3 and 6 with the Chinese immunizer Sinovac.

Dr. Heriberto García, director of the Institute of Public Health (ISP), explained that the decision was adopted after analyzing in detail a Chinese report on the application of 100 million doses in children from 3 to 17 years old.

“We already have enough background to give approval for children as young as 3 years old for (the use of) the Coronavac vaccine” from Sinovac, Garcia said.

He added that “the production of antibodies in children is better … which could show – and is part of what needs to be investigated further – that probably in vaccinated children the contagion would decrease to zero”.

He specified that the report by the Chinese pharmaceutical company indicates that after inoculation only 3,890 adverse reactions were reported, especially among children aged 12 to 17 years, and that in the group of 3 to 5 years “no serious adverse reaction appeared.” The most common reaction was a swelling in the arm, very normal in the application of any vaccine, he added.

In Chile, 91% of the population eligible to be vaccinated (15 million of the 19 million Chileans) over 18 years of age have already completed the vaccination scheme, 93% have the first dose and 8 million received a booster immunizer. In addition, 4.8 million children between the ages of 6 and 17 have been inoculated since September. Most of the Chileans were vaccinated with Sinovac.

As vaccination progressed, there was a marked decrease in new cases. Currently the infected average between 1,500 to 2,000 per day and the deaths registered are a couple of dozen and there are days when they do not exceed 10 deaths.

Chile has acquired 43.5 million vaccines from Sinovac, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and the Chinese company Cansino.

Asked about the possibility of immunizing children under three years of age, the Undersecretary of Health, Paula Daza, pointed out that “(before) we have to have evidence to be able to start (vaccination) in the range of two years. We have to wait for the resolution of the Institute of Public Health ”.

In the South American country, a clinical study is also being developed by the Catholic University on the effect of the Sinovac vaccine in 4,000 children aged 3 and over.

Since the start of the pandemic in Chile, more than 1.7 million infections have been registered and just over 38,000 deaths.

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