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Macau to lower age limit for BioNTech jabs to 12

2021-06-04 03:46     Comment:0

The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre announced last night that the Macau government has concluded that those aged between 12 and 15 can be inoculated with the BioNTech mRNA vaccine, as the findings of the manufacturer’s clinical trials for that age group have indicated the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.

According to last night’s statement by the centre, the Health Bureau (SSM) will later revise its age range for people in Macau to get their BioNTech jabs after completely assessing “all the detailed information” concerning the findings of the clinical trials.

Two types of COVID-19 vaccines are currently available in Macau, China’s Sinopharm inactivated vaccine and Germany’s BioNTech mRNA vaccine. Currently, Sinopharm jabs are administered to those aged 18 or over in Macau, while BioNTech shots are given to those aged 16 or over.

The Hong Kong government announced yesterday that it has decided to lower the minimum age for BioNTech jabs from 16 to 12, after taking into account the views of its Advisory Panel on COVID-19 vaccines, adding that it will announce its arrangements for giving BioNTech shots to those aged between 12 and 15 early next week. 

According to last night’s statement by Macau’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre, the Health Bureau’s special working group tasked with assessing the COVID-19 vaccine risk held a meeting yesterday to discuss whether the minimum age for the administration of the mRNA Comirnaty vaccine can be lowered to 12 in Macau.

The statement said that the Health Bureau’s special working group has assessed the findings of clinical trials of the BioNTech vaccine on those aged 12 to 15. Germany’s BioNTech vaccination is locally branded mRNAComirnaty.

EMA, MHRA & FDA

In addition, the working group has also assessed the reasons for approving BioNTech inoculations for those aged between 12 and 15 made by the medicine supervisory body of the region where the vaccine is manufactured – the European Medicines Agency (EMA), as well as the reasons given by medicine supervisory bodies in a number of countries, such as the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the statement said.

Consequently, the statement said, the working group has concluded that the BioNTech vaccine’s safety and effectiveness has been indicated by the fact that hundreds of millions of mRNA doses have been administered to people aged 16 or over worldwide, adding that the findings of clinical trials of the vaccine on those aged between 12 and 15 have also indicated its safety and effectiveness.

Although, the statement said, children who have been infected with COVID-19 have a lower risk of suffering a serious condition or dying from the disease, “the risk cannot be ignored” if they travel to COVID-19 high-risk areas.

Children can infect senior citizens & the chronically ill

In fact, the statement said, children who have been infected with the novel coronavirus could transmit the disease at their schools, apart from the fact that they could infect adults at their homes, including senior citizens and those with chronic diseases. Consequently, the statement underlined, vaccinating children against COVID-19 has important benefits.

Therefore, the statement said, the Health Bureau’s special working group has “preliminarily” concluded that it is suitable to inoculate those aged between 12 and 15 with the BioNTech vaccine in Macau.

“The Health Bureau will revise the applicable ages for this vaccine’s [BioNTech] inoculations in accordance with established procedures after all the detailed information is available,” the statement said.


Health Bureau (SSM) medical workers check BioNTech mRNA vaccines in the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre in April when the third batch of 29,250 doses was delivered to Macau from Germany via Hong Kong. Photo: GCS

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