Parents in Chile have expressed mixed feelings about inoculating children as young as 6 years old with the Chinese developed Sinovac vaccine, despite assurances of the vaccine’s safety from the nation’s Ministry of Health.
The Chilean Ministry of Health approved the Chinese vaccine for use in children as young as 6 years old on Sept. 13. Though immunization is voluntary, Undersecretary of Public Health Paula Daza claimed, “Vaccination is essential to avoid infections.”
COVID-19 vaccines for youths under 12 years of age have not been approved in the United States, which has created concern for some Chilean parents.
“I don’t know how they expect us to inject our children with something that hasn’t been approved in the U.S.,” Vina del Mar resident Adriana Diaz, 32, told The Epoch Times. “I really don’t care what other parents do. I’m waiting until the U.S. starts vaccinating younger children, and I want the same one they’re using. My kids aren’t lab rats.”
China approved the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine for emergency use in children ages 3–17 beginning on May 28. Indonesia greenlighted Sinovac for emergency use in minors ages 12–17 in June.
“My son is about to turn seven and I’d prefer to get him Pfizer once it’s safe,” Valdivia resident Benjamin Munoz, 29, told The Epoch Times. “No one in my family got Sinovac either. I feel like this problem came from China, and they haven’t been very open about the details, so how can we trust their solution?”
According to the World Health Organization, Chile has suffered 37,359 deaths from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, making it the sixth-worst affected country in Latin America. Comparatively, Chile has the second-highest vaccination rate in Latin America, with 30,673,101 doses administered as of Sept. 17, according to the World Health Organization.
Santiago resident Carmen Rojas, 35, told The Epoch Times she has questions about the vaccine’s efficacy.
“It does make me wonder. Why do we continue having such dramatic case spikes? We have one of the highest vaccination rates. We started vaccinating last year.” Rojas said, “I’d rather wait until there’s more information. Then I’ll think about getting my youngest vaccinated.”
When asked if she got the COVID-19 vaccine herself, Rojas responded, “Yes, but I got the Pfizer. Overall, I have more faith in the ones being used in places like the U.S., UK, and Europe.”
According to an epidemiologist study of Chile’s pandemic response published on Aug. 26, vaccination alone isn’t enough to prevent spikes in new cases. Chile began its vaccination program in December 2020 and had 35.2 percent of its population fully vaccinated against the CCP virus by April of this year. Comparative data from the World Health Organization shows the country suffered a significant new case spike that topped out with 49,044 new cases reported on Apr. 5. Similar peaks in new cases were reported in May and early June of this year.
Pucon resident Adrian Silva, 41, told The Epoch Times he’s eager to get his young children vaccinated.
“My girls need to be protected,” Silva said. “Part of the reason we’ve been able to get this under control here is the government’s vaccination program. We’ve been waiting for months to get the shot for our youngest and it [the vaccine] has been tested. Some people aren’t comfortable with it [Sinovac-CoronaVac], but it’s been used in other countries. My youngest is eight and has asthma, she needs this vaccine.”
The Epoch Times reached out to the Undersecretary of Public Health Paula Daza and the Ministry of Health for comment but did not receive a response.