Hong Kong – Scientific Committees under CHP update consensus interim recommendations on use of COVID-19 vaccines

Scientific Committees under CHP update consensus interim recommendations on use of COVID-19 vaccines

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     The Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (JSC) under the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health, joined by the Chief Executive’s expert advisory panel (EAP), convened an online meeting today (August 1) to discuss and issue the consensus interim recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines for children down to six months of age in Hong Kong.



     The JSC-EAP noted the early clinical trial data from three doses of Comirnaty vaccine and two doses of CoronaVac vaccine in children down to six months of age which showed that both vaccines were immunogenic and had no new safety concerns. Taking into account local context and in anticipation of the winter surge, vaccinating this group of children will likely prevent severe disease and death.



     For Comirnaty vaccine, a three-dose series (each dose is one-tenth of the adult dose) may be administered to children aged six months to under five years of age. To reduce the small risk of myocarditis or pericarditis associated with mRNA vaccines, the first two doses are recommended to be given eight weeks apart, while the third doses should be given at least three months after receiving the second dose. While the specific paediatric formulation for six months to under five years of age is recommended, the JSC-EAP recommended the Government to explore the option of dilution of adult formulation to appropriate paediatric dosage in case this specific formulation cannot be made available within a short period of time.



     For CoronaVac vaccine, based on related clinical trial data and local studies in adolescents, the experts considered three doses (each dose is the same dosage as in older children and adults) can be used for children aged six months to less than 3 years following the schedule of older children.



     During the meeting, the JSC also reviewed the administration of the fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine in adult population. Noting that severe complications may also occur in those aged 50 to 59 years, JSC-EAP recommended a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 50 years and above at least three months from the third dose, on par with the elderly population. JSC-EAP reaffirmed three doses of the CoronaVac and Comirnaty vaccine are highly effective in reducing hospitalisation, severe disease and death across all age groups in adult population and strongly urged completion of the recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible.



     Details of the interim recommendations are available at the CHP’s website at www.chp.gov.hk/en/static/24008.html.

Hong Kong – Scientific Committees under CHP updated consensus interim recommendations on use of COVID-19 vaccines in Hong Kong

Scientific Committees under CHP updated consensus interim recommendations on use of COVID-19 vaccines in Hong Kong

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     The Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (JSC) under the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health convened a meeting tonight (February 25), joined by the Chief Executive’s expert advisory panel (EAP) to discuss and update the consensus interim recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in Hong Kong.



     COVID-19 vaccines can protect individuals from severe illnesses and complications from COVID-19. Locally, fully vaccinated cases have much lower fatality rate than those not fully vaccinated. With that, JSC-EAP strongly recommended eligible persons who have not yet received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines to get vaccinated, with priority accorded to those aged under 12 as well as those aged 60 and above.



     The JSC-EAP also strongly recommended a third dose of Comirnaty vaccine for adults three months after they had received two doses of CoronaVac or Comirnaty vaccines. Meanwhile, priority should be accorded to persons aged 60 and above in view of their higher vulnerability to severe COVID-19 disease and higher fatality rate in the local context.



     The use of COVID-19 vaccines in children was also reviewed during the meeting. For children and adolescents aged 5 to 17, the JSC-EAP recommended to shorten the time interval between the first two doses of Comirnaty vaccine from 12 weeks to eight weeks which should be given intramuscularly at the anterolateral aspect of mid-thigh.



     The JSC-EAP recommended adolescents aged 12 to 17 who have received two doses of CoronaVac to receive a third dose of either CoronaVac or Comirnaty as soon as three months after the second dose. Adolescents who had received two doses of Comirnaty are recommended to receive a third dose of the same vaccine five months from the second dose, while CoronaVac should be made available as an alternative based on personal preference.



     At the meeting, the experts also reviewed the use of COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised individuals. An additional dose (i.e. the fourth dose) of COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised patients aged 12 or above who have received three doses is strongly recommended for better protection. For immunocompromised persons below age 12, they are recommended to receive a total of three doses at this juncture.



     Details of the interim recommendations are available at the CHP’s website www.chp.gov.hk/en/static/24008.html.

Scientific fraternity in the country celebrated 75th year of India’s Independence with the rendering of the National Anthem

AzadikaAmritMahotsav was celebrated on the occasion of the 75th year of India’s Independence with the rendering of India’s National Anthem by the scientific fraternity.

Organised as a mix of physical and virtual events, the occasion witnessed the participation of Dr.Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology & Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, PP /DoPT, Atomic Energy, Space, along with Prof K.VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor, Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary of Department of Science and Technology(DST) and of Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Dr.RenuSwarup, Secretary Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Dr.Shekhar Mande Director General, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), who were present physically and Shri K N Vyas, Secretary Department of Atomic Energy and Dr. K Sivan, Secretary Department of Space who were present virtually.

Addressing the scientists on this occasion, Dr.Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble Minister, stressed the need for scientific thinking for the development and progress of the country. “When we became independent 75 years ago, nobody gave us a chance, and they thought we would not be able to handle it. However, we have proved them wrong, and we have done much better than many other countries who become independent at the same time. We are a frontline nation in various fields in the world, and a lot of credit for this goes to the hard work and dedication of our scientific fraternity. They have contributed enormously to India’s rapid ascent in the last 75 years. Rendering of national anthem by Indian scientific fraternity together is happening for the first time, and the occasion can be a source of inspiration to work together for the growth and development of the country,” Dr.Jitendra Singh pointed out.

A DST-CSIR-DBT-MoES joint choir led the rendering of the National Anthem at the podium in MoESMahika Hall. All senior scientists (Scientist F and above) of the 6 departments and some eminent scientists joined the rendering of the National Anthem at the hall while all other scientists of these 6 departments and their Autonomous Institutions and Laboratories joined virtually. Nearly 800 scientists participated in person and virtually in the event.

A video prepared out of the joint rendering of the National Anthem will be shared with Minitsry of Culture for uploading on the portal https://rashtragaan.in  and posted on social and digital media to celebrate 75 years of Independence.

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Hong Kong – Scientific Committees under CHP issue consensus interim recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination

Scientific Committees under CHP issue consensus interim recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination

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     The Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases under the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (JSC) convened a meeting today (July 22), joined by the Chief Executive’s expert advisory panel (EAP), to discuss the recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination, including co-administration of COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines; and the need for a third dose of COVID-19 vaccines for persons who have been fully vaccinated.

     During the meeting, the JSC-EAP noted that the data on co-administration of COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines are currently limited. It is suggested to have a minimal interval of at least 14 days between the administration of COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty or CoronaVac) and any other vaccines. Elderly should receive COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, well before the arrival of the winter influenza season. There are circumstances when shortening the interval between the administration of these vaccines are justified, such as when there are increased risk of COVID-19 and other vaccine-preventable diseases or when another vaccine is required for post-exposure prophylaxis, including tetanus and rabies. ​

     In addition, the JSC-EAP agreed that getting vaccinated, in particular for older adults and those with pre-existing conditions as they have a higher risk of severe disease and death, is a priority. Both Comirnaty and CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in protecting against severe diseases and death from COVID-19 infection, which is generally related to T-cell response. The antibody response is related to prevention of infection and symptomatic disease. It is also more susceptible to Variants of Concern. Therefore, it may differ among different vaccines.

     The JSC-EAP considered that it is currently too early to confirm if and when a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine will be needed for the general population, and recommended to continue monitoring any new scientific evidence that becomes available.

     ​Details of the interim recommendations are available at the CHP’s website www.chp.gov.hk/en/static/24008.html.