China to start vaccinating children as young as 3 against COVID-19

China to start vaccinating children as young as 3 against COVID-19
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China plans to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to children as young as 3 years old.

Authorities in at least five provinces in China announced in recent days that vaccines would be made available and required for children ages 3 to 11, according to The Associated Press, making it one of very few countries that are currently vaccinating at such a young age.

The U.S. and European countries have currently authorized vaccines for children as young as 12, though efforts to extend that to younger children are ongoing. Cuba, however, has authorized vaccines for children as young as 2, the AP reported. 

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China has taken a zero-tolerance policy in terms of handling outbreaks, and 76 percent of its population is fully vaccinated.

Four new cases were reported in Gansu province, which relies heavily on tourism. As a result, authorities closed all tourist sites there on Monday.

Another 19 cases were reported in Inner Mongolia, where residents have since been ordered to remain inside, according to the wire service.

As China prepares for the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February, concerns have increased about travelers bringing the highly contagious delta variant to the country, which has already banned foreign spectators. In preparation, China has begun administering booster shots ahead of the games.

Questions about how protective China’s most widely used vaccines, which include shots from Sinopharm and Sinovac, are against the delta variant remain unanswered, though officials insist that they are, the AP added.