As the time passes by, it has become crucial to safeguard children from the Covid-19 infection as the emerging new strains are impacting them severely. So far, the Coronavirus vaccines developed across the world have only been given to adults and the vaccine was not tested for children. The primary reason was the viral impact in children seemed to be relatively small when compared to those who are grown-ups. However, as the virus mutated, more children are being infected. This gave an impetus to performing clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccines among children.
Last week, the European Union gave a go-ahead for the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine among children as young as 12. This is expected to uplift a broader roll-out of vaccines among people. Apart from this, the United States and Canada have also given similar clearances.
European Union countries who have authorised vaccination for children include Italy which on May 31 approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine among children between the age of 12-15 years. Germany too is set to offer the vaccine shot to children aged 12-16 from June 7. On the same day, Poland will also start inoculating kids aged 12-15 years. Apart from these countries, France, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania, Austria and Hungary will also start their vaccination drive for children. In most cases, children above the age of 12 years will be receiving vaccination. Among European Union, Hungary will start vaccination for teens aged 16-18 years.
Among other European countries, Pfizer is seeking necessary approvals from British authorities, Norway, and Switzerland health watchdogs for vaccinating children aged 12-15.
The Middle-East has also ramped up vaccination for young people. In Israel, the vaccination has already been expanded to 16-18 year-olds back in January and from this week, it is likely to approve shots for those aged 12-15 years. In Dubai, inoculation of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been started from 12-15 year old children. The United Arab Emirates has approved the vaccine for emergency use.
Singapore, Japan and Philippines also gave their authorisation for adolescent vaccination programmes as emergency use.
Similarly in America, Chile has a green light on Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine use for 12-16 year old children. In the US, those ages 12-15 will also receive vaccine jabs as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approves Pfizer’s vaccine. Canada, on the other hand, has also started vaccinating children (12-15 years) after approvals in early May.
It is to note that while many big countries are focusing on vaccinating adolescents, many parts of the world are still awaiting doses for older populations who are at their more vulnerable stage. This has raised many concerns. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) is also urging the rich countries to provide vaccines to the COVAX scheme instead.
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