Brazil approves Sinovac's Coronavac for those aged 6 to 17

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BRASILIA, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Brazilian health regulator Anvisa on Thursday approved the emergency use of Sinovac Biotech's (SVA.O) COVID-19 vaccine Coronavac on those without underlying health risks aged 6 to 17, extending the country's efforts to inoculate children and teenagers.

The green light came as all five Anvisa directors voted in favor of the Coronavac shot, which is produced in Brazil by Sao Paulo's Butantan Institute.

The decision represents a partial approval of Butantan's original request. The institute was initially looking to use the vaccine on those aged 3 to 17, but Anvisa's board decided there was not enough data to support the inoculation of such an expanded group.

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According to Anvisa, the inoculation with Coronavac will take place in two doses with a 28-day gap in between.

"All available scientific evidence suggests there are benefits and safety in the pediatric use of that vaccine," Anvisa's manager for medicines and biological products, Gustavo Mendes, said.

The approval of Coronavac follows the green light given to Pfizer Inc's (PFE.N) shot, which was already cleared for everyone above age 5 in Brazil.

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Reporting by Ricardo Brito in Brasilia Writing by Gabriel Araujo Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis

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