Vaccinating infants and children against Covid-19 (6 months to 5 years)
With Covid-19 cases persisting in the community and in anticipation of case numbers increasing as we approach winter, it’s important to consider the risks and benefits of vaccinating younger children. Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection has recently released new interim guidelines recommending Covid-19 vaccinations for children from 6 months of age.
While Covid-19 vaccines may not always prevent the development of Covid-19 symptoms, studies show they are effective at significantly reducing the risk of severe disease and death in the paediatric population.
In Hong Kong the CoronaVac (Sinovac) vaccine is currently available for babies from 6 months old, with plans to also introduce the BioNTech vaccine from 6 months of age when stock becomes available in Hong Kong (the paediatric BioNTech vaccine is not currently available in Hong Kong due to a supply issue at the time of this update).
The vaccines are available at government vaccine centers and also the following private clinics, www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/en/VSS
In children aged 6 months to 3 years old, the same dose as older children and adults is used. Three vaccine doses are recommended, with a 28-day interval between the first 2 doses, and 3 months between dose 2 and 3. You can book a Sinovac vaccine for babies 6 months and older at Central Health by calling reception.
BioNTech (Not available as yet):
When available, a paediatric formulation which is 1/10 of an adult dose will be given for ages 6 months to 5 years. A 3-dose regimen will be recommended with the first 2 doses being given 8 weeks apart. The second and third doses will be spaced 3 months apart to minimise the very small risk of vaccine side effects.
Co-Administration with other Vaccines:
The guidelines no longer recommend spacing out the Covid-19 vaccination from other vaccines, which means the Covid-19 vaccination can be given anytime.
Previous Covid-19 Infections:
For children who have previously had Covid-19, it is recommended to delay vaccination for one month post infection. Two vaccine doses are recommended, with a 3-month interval between doses for both BioNTech and Sinovac vaccines. The guidelines vary slightly for immunocompromised children.
What’s Happening around the World?
In the US, the CDC recommends Covid-19 vaccination for everyone aged 6 months or older, and are offering Moderna and BioNTech vaccines to this age group.
From September Australia will be offering the Moderna vaccine to children 6 months – 4 years with pre-existing health conditions.
The UK continues to only vaccinate children 5 and above.
If you need help making decisions about your child’s vaccine, we suggest you request a consultation with one of our paediatrician who can go through the pros and cons of vaccination specifically for your child. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
For those returning from overseas and wishing to complete their Day 4, 6, 9 compulsory PCR test with us, feel free to make an appointment with one of our GPs at email@example.com
Further information about Covid-19 vaccines can be found www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/en/faq