Vaccinating children against Covid not priority from WHO perspective: Vaccines expert

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Geneva, June 4

The World Health Organisation’s top vaccines expert says that immunising children against the coronavirus “is not a high priority” given the extremely limited global supply of vaccines.

Dr Kate O’Brien says vaccinating children “is not a priority from a WHO perspective”, even as increasing numbers of rich countries authorise their Covid-19 shots for teenagers and children.

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O’Brien says since children are not typically at risk of getting severely ill or dying from Covid-19, vaccinating them during the pandemic is mostly aimed at stopping transmission, rather than protecting them from disease.

Canada, the US and the European Union have all recently approved some Covid-19 vaccines for children age 12 to 15 as they approach their vaccination targets for adults.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has previously urged rich countries to donate their Covid-19 shots to poor countries rather than immunise their adolescents and children. Fewer than 1% of Covid-19 vaccines administered globally have been used in poor countries.

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O’Brien says it’s not necessary to vaccinate children before sending them back to school if the adults in contact with them were immunised. — AP

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