Hong Kong to vaccinate 3-year-olds amid new coronavirus surge
Hong Kong plans to offer COVID-19 vaccines to children as young as 3 as infections rage through the city.
The announcement late Sunday came ahead of another surge in cases. The city reported a record 2,071 new cases Monday, with that number expected to double the next day with more than 4,500 preliminary positives identified.
For the record:
4:20 a.m. Feb. 14, 2022A previous version of this article misstated the timing of the vaccination announcement and which vaccine will be used. The announcement came late Sunday, not Monday, and the vaccine to be used is made by drugmaker Sinovac, and is not the Sinopharm shot.
Hong Kong schools extended a suspension of in-class teaching for two weeks to March 6.
The wave blamed on the Omicron variant has already prompted new restrictions limiting in-person gatherings to no more than two households. Hong Kong residents have been rushing to grocery stories to stock up on vegetables and to salons to get haircuts.
Authorities have imposed lockdowns on residential buildings wherever clusters of infections are identified, and have already banned public dining after 6 p.m. Only vaccinated people will be permitted in shopping malls and supermarkets, while places of worship, hair salons and other businesses have been ordered to close.
Immunizations using Chinese drugmaker Sinovac’s shot for children 3 years old and up will start being administered Tuesday. Previously, the age limit for COVID-19 vaccinations was 5. Hong Kong has fully vaccinated 73% of its eligible population, not including children.
An FDA panel postpones a meeting on Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5 after the drugmaker said it has new data to add to its application.
With a population of about 7.5 million, Hong Kong currently has more than 7,000 people being treated for COVID-19 or awaiting admission to hospitals.
Hong Kong has adopted mainland China’s zero-tolerance approach to dealing with the pandemic, which requires quarantines, mask mandates, contact-tracing and lockdowns of buildings, neighborhoods and entire cities, even when only a few cases are detected.
Beijing officials and Chinese state media say adopting a “living with the virus” policy, as some countries are beginning to do, would overwhelm Hong Kong’s medical system.
The city has recorded more than 25,000 coronavirus cases and about 220 COVID-19 deaths.
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