South Africa jabs 2,000 children in test of Chinese vaccine

South Africa has started vaccinating some children and adolescents as part of the global Phase 3 clinical trials of China’s Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged between 6 months and 17 years

JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa on Friday started vaccinating some children and adolescents as part of the global Phase 3 clinical trials of China’s Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged between 6 months and 17 years.

The first children in South Africa were inoculated at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in the capital Pretoria to kick off the trials and others will get shots at 6 different sites across the country, the Sinovac company said in a statement Friday.

“The primary objective of the study is to evaluate the efficacy of two doses of the CoronaVac against confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 cases in children and adolescents," said the statement.

“Efficacy will also be evaluated against hospitalization and severe COVID-19 cases,” Sinovac said.

South Africa, which accounts for more than 35% of COVID-19 infections in Africa with 2.8 million confirmed cases including 84,327 deaths, and has recently battled a resurgence driven by the delta variant.

South Africa has recorded 6,270 new infections and 175 deaths in the last 24 hours.

While the government has said it will not force people to get vaccinated, some companies have already indicated that they will make vaccinations compulsory for their employees.

Various establishments like restaurants and bars would have to make their own decision on whether or not they serve unvaccinated patrons.

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