The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) on Wednesday okayed offering children coronavirus jabs as approved for individual age groups, adding it should be done alongside the global priority of sharing of vaccines for all.
The W.H.O. drew on the work of various advisory groups including its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) to give its approval.
In an interim statement the U.N. subsidiary said countries should consider the “individual and population benefits” of vaccinating children and adolescents “in their specific epidemiological and social context.”
The W.H.O. cautioned full vaccination of the highest risk groups, including giving this group booster doses, needs to be considered before jabbing kids, although some countries have already gone ahead and started the process with under 12s on the back of manufacturer approvals.
For example, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is reportedly making preparations to vaccinate children as young as five years old in six months time.
Leaked plans for Britain’s vaccination rollout allegedly include proposals to jab children between the age of five and 11 years old in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
Elsewhere, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s (D) office said last month the city “will be ready” to vaccinate children once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives the all clear.
“As soon as the CDC issues guidance for COVID-19 vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds, NYC will be ready,” de Blasio’s office said
The W.H.O. noted the jabs that have received these authorizations, such as the U.S.’s approval for BioNTech/Pfizer, “are safe and effective in reducing disease burden in these age groups.”
The risk of myocarditis in younger people receiving mRNA vaccines has previously been noted, however the W.H.O. observed the risk of this following coronavirus infection is higher than the risk after vaccination.
Despite backing the vaccination of kids, the W.H.O. concluded that sharing the vaccines on a wider scale is still important so the entire globe can progress to a fully jabbed state.
It said as long as there are extreme vaccine shortages in parts of the world “countries that have achieved high vaccine coverage in their high-risk populations should prioritize global sharing of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility before proceeding to vaccination of children and adolescents who are at low risk for severe disease.”