The Bahrain Health Ministry announced Tuesday it will begin administering doses of the Chinese coronavirus vaccine “Coronavac,” by the firm Sinovac Biotech, to children aged three to 11 years old this week.
“[A]ll children aged 3 to 11 will be eligible to receive two doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, starting Wednesday, 27 October 2021,” according to a notice published by the Bahrain Health Ministry’s official website on October 26.
The Ministry said it decided to offer the Sinopharm product to children “following a thorough review of all medical health and safety recommendations conducted by the [Bahrain] Vaccination Committee, adding that the move aims to preserve public health.”
Bahrain’s National Medical Taskforce for Combatting the Coronavirus “stressed that it is important that eligible children get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families, and public health.”
“Additionally, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will soon be approved for children aged 5 to 11 age who will be eligible to receive two doses,” the press release added.
Sinopharm is an “inactivated” Chinese coronavirus vaccine developed by the state-run China National Pharmaceutical Group. Inactivated vaccines inject a “killed version of the germ that causes a disease” into a recipient to help him or her develop immunity against the disease.
Sinopharm differs from Comirnaty, the coronavirus vaccine offered by the European company BioNTech, created in a partnership with American company Pfizer and Chinese company Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co. Comirnaty uses new mRNA technology to inject part of the Chinese coronavirus’s genetic code into a person’s body. The injection triggers the recipient’s body to produce viral proteins of the Chinese coronavirus. This process subsequently trains the patient’s immune system to attack the Chinese coronavirus.
Sinopharm has an efficacy rate of 79 percent against the Chinese coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.). Comirnaty had an efficacy rate of 91 percent in April, according to Pfizer, though more recent studies suggest the efficacy of mRNA coronavirus vaccines may wane in subsequent months.
“In one CDC study, data from the state of New York showed vaccine effectiveness dropping from 91.8 to 75 percent against infection,” Yale Medicine noted on October 15, citing an August study on mRNA vaccines by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Bahrain’s government-run “Vaccination Committee” did not disclose on Tuesday the source of the “medical health and safety recommendations” it allegedly used to justify its decision to vaccinate children as young as three years old against the Chinese coronavirus. Multiple studies and data assessments have shown that the Chinese coronavirus demonstrates a minimal mortality risk in children.
“Children are at extremely slim risk of dying from Covid-19, according to some of the most comprehensive studies to date, which indicate the threat might be even lower than previously thought,” the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on July 8.
The U.S.-based newspaper referred to three studies published by researchers in Britain who based their analyses on medical records culled from the United Kingdom’s national health system and those of other nations. The scientists centered their coronavirus death study on a time period between March 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021.
According to WSJ, “Some 99.995 percent of the 469,982 children in England who were infected during the year examined by researchers survived, one study found.”
“[T]here were fewer deaths among children due to the virus than initially suspected,” the newspaper observed. “Among the 61 child deaths linked to a positive Covid-19 test in England, 25 were actually caused by the illness, the study found.”
“In England, 251 children were admitted to the ICU [for coronavirus] from March 2020 to February 2021,” the BBC reported on July 9. The broadcaster said this statistic translated to British children having a “one in 50,000 chance of being admitted to ICU” with coronavirus.
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