Shanghai unveils plans to vaccinate teens aged 12 to 17

Yang Meiping
Shanghai says it will begin vaccinating youth aged between 12 and 17 and Chinese mainlanders aged between 15 and 17 can make reservations for the COVID-19 vaccines from Thursday.
Yang Meiping

Shanghai announced on Wednesday that it will begin vaccinating youth aged between 12 and 17 and Chinese mainlanders aged between 15 and 17 can make reservations for the vaccination from Thursday.

According to the leadership office for COVID-19 prevention and control in Shanghai, parents or guardians can book vaccinations for the juveniles via the health cloud app, or jiankangyun in Chinese. The child should be accompanied by a parent or a guardian to the reserved vaccination site at the appointed time.

Vaccination schedule for mainlanders aged 12 to 14 will be announced later as will arrangements for foreigners, residents from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, as well as overseas Chinese.

There are two kinds of inactivated vaccines available for the youth. One is a Sinopharm vaccine developed by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China National Biotec Group, and the other is produced by Sinovac Biotech. Both require two shots.

For any questions about the vaccination, people can call 12320, the city's health care hotline.

The city's leadership office for COVID-19 prevention and control has, meanwhile, answered some common questions as below:

Q1: Why should children or teens aged 12 to 17 be vaccinated against COVID-19?

A: The vaccine can help improve immunity and reduce the risk of infections, severe cases and even death.

The chances of children getting infected are low, but there are still risks and they can also spread the virus. If children and teenagers get infected, they could easily spread the virus to others. Therefore, vaccinations are of great significance for strengthening the population's immune barrier and blocking the pandemic.

Q2: Is vaccination safe for children aged between 12 and 17?

A: According to a State Council press conference, both the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines have been tested on children aged 3 to 17. Both have been proven to be safe for people of this age group after clinical tests and expert reviews.

Q3: What vaccines are available for children aged 12 to 17?

A: China has approved the emergency use of the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines against COVID-19 for people aged between 12 and 17. Both require two shots with an interval of three to eight weeks.

Q4: How to book a vaccination?

A: Reservations must be made by parents or guardians. It can be made via the health cloud app, the health cloud pro mini program on WeChat, Shanghai's public service app Suishenban, and WeChat accounts of the city government and disease prevention and control center, shanghaifabu and shanghaicdc, respectively.

In case families don't have access to smart phones, they can bring their ID cards to health stations in the subdistricts where they live to print out bar codes for the vaccinations and take the shots at nearby vaccination sites.

Q5: Where to take the vaccination? How to choose a vaccination site if my school and residence belong to two different districts?

A: Parents or guardians can help the child choose any site near their home or the child's school. After registering on the health cloud or Suishenban apps, you can access information about all the available vaccination sites.

Q6: For whom is it advisable not to take the vaccine?

A: The contraindications for inoculation in children aged 12 to 17 is the same with those for adults. The following groups are advised not to take the vaccine:

1. People who are allergic to any vaccine substances or substances used in production of the vaccines, or who are allergic to similar vaccines;

2. People who have shown serious allergic reactions to vaccines in the past, such as acute allergies, expiratory dyspnea and angioneurotic edema;

3. People who have epilepsy or other nervous-system diseases, such as transverse myelitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome and demyelinating diseases;

4. People with fevers, acute diseases, serious chronic diseases and those who are in the acute stage of a chronic disease.

5. Other contraindications listed on descriptions of the vaccines.

Q7: Can people who have recently taken other vaccines, such as HPV, rabies or zoster vaccines, receive COVID-19 vaccines?

A: If people have taken other vaccines recently, it is advisable to receive the COVID-19 vaccines 14 days after the previous inoculation.

If people have received the COVID-19 vaccine, the suggestion for a 14-day interval still holds if they want to take other jabs. However, if people need a vaccine for things such as rabies, tetanus and immune globulin after injuries, they don't have to wait.

Q8: Can people receive the vaccine if they feel uncomfortable on the chosen day?

A: People with fevers, coughs, diarrhea or other sick symptoms are advised to postpone their anti-COVID-19 vaccination and make reservation again after recovery.

Q9: What pre-vaccination precautions should people take? What should they bring along when they go for the vaccination?

A: Don't go on an empty stomach. Please wear loose clothes, which will be convenient for the inoculation. Bring along necessary documents, such as ID cards, and wear a mask throughout the stay at the vaccination sites.

People who have taken antipyretics, antivirals and antibiotics before vaccination should inform doctors at the vaccination site.

People who need to be accompanied by parents or guardians also need to bring along their ID cards or hukoubu, or book of registered permanent residents. They need to show the bar codes they got when booking the vaccination and sign an informed consent form before inoculation.

Q10: Post-vaccination suggestions?

A: People can continue with their lives as normal but they should take more rest to avoid overexertion. It is also suggested to have a light diet, drink more water and keep the skin of the inoculation area clean. It's better to avoid hectic exercises within a week after the vaccination.

Even after the shot, people should take proper personal protection measures, including wearing masks, washing hands regularly and keeping social distance.

Q11: Do people need to maintain a diet after vaccination?

A: After vaccination, doctors would always remind people to avoid stimulant food such as peppers or seafood like fish and shrimp so as to reduce the risk of discomfort they might cause, such as allergy. If people are not allergic to seafood or habitually eat spicy stuff like chili, they can have their normal diet.

Q12: Are there any adverse reactions after having the vaccine?

A: Based on the results of preliminary clinical trials of the vaccines and information collected during their use, adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines are similar to those of other widely used vaccines. These include redness, swelling, induration and ache in the place of injection, fever, fatigue, nausea, headaches and muscle pain. These symptoms go away for most people without medical intervention. If necessary, people can contact the vaccination sites for instructions on treatment.

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