China to Vaccinate Three-Year-Olds Against Coronavirus

A boy looks at Sinovac Biotech LTD's vaccine candidate for COVID-19 coronavirus on display at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing on September 6, 2020. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP) (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)
NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese health officials said Monday that coronavirus vaccines will be administered to children as young as three years old to meet the government’s target of 70 percent vaccination by the end of 2021.

China supposedly eliminated the coronavirus over a year ago, aside from a few local outbreaks that were invariably blamed on foreign contamination, but the Chinese government evidently worried about other governments receiving applause for their speedy development and deployment of vaccines because Beijing began issuing proclamations that it would soon have the biggest, fastest vaccine program in the world.

This desire to claim world leadership on vaccinations quickly ran into resistance from Chinese citizens, who wondered why they should rush to get inoculated against a disease their totalitarian government insists it wiped out long ago. The Chinese public also seemed quietly skeptical of domestically-produced vaccines and their spotty records of success in several countries they were exported to.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) responded by offering a mixture of incentives and threats to get vaccinated, and recently have begun targeting young children as a captive population that could be inoculated quickly with little resistance. 

China’s state-run Global Times on Monday quoted National Health Commission (NHC) deputy director Zeng Yixin stating that vaccinations will soon be administered on a massive scale for children aged 3 to 17, a group seen as very low-risk by worldwide health experts. 

The U.S. government has recommended vaccinations for children as young as 12 and might advise vaccination at younger ages in the future, but older people are currently seen as a much higher priority.

Zeng exhorted Chinese subjects to get over their “vaccine hesitancy” and build an “immunity Great Wall,” and insisted “experts” have confirmed vaccination is safe for ages three and up.

The Global Times noted China has 21 vaccine candidates currently undergoing clinical trials and three have been approved for emergency use, but did not indicate which were supposedly cleared by the experts as safe for very young children.

With the caveat that the accuracy of data provided by the Chinese state is always questionable, Beijing claims it has overcome a slow start and is now administering coronavirus inoculations over six times as rapidly as the United States did during its peak in the middle of April.

Zeng also called upon the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) to abandon late-stage human trials on coronavirus vaccines on Monday, arguing that Phase Three human trials are unnecessary – and supposedly very difficult for China to conduct within its borders, since so few Chinese are currently infected with the coronavirus. 

Zeng said “good results from animal trials, phase 1/2 clinical trials and the production in full compliance with good manufacturing standards” should be enough to secure emergency authorization, a lower standard that would “significantly increase the supplies of Covid-19 vaccines.”

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