GENEVA, 25 Nov 2021:
World Health Organisation (WHO) experts yesterday said that inoculating children and youngsters can help tackle the pandemic, but it is “less urgent” than vaccinating other higher-risk groups.
Children and adolescents usually develop mild symptoms when infected – so the elderly, healthcare workers and those with chronic diseases should be prioritised in vaccine rollouts, according to WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation.
However, inoculating children can prevent measures such as school closures since it reduces the spread of the virus among them and to adults, according to the experts.
“Countries should consider the individual and population benefits of immunising children and adolescents,” the panel said in a statement.
Due to persistent unequal access to vaccines, governments should make the jabs accessible to highest risk groups in other countries, the WHO said, before inoculating children and adolescents.
“As long as many parts of the world are facing extreme vaccine shortages, countries that have achieved high vaccine coverage in their high-risk populations should prioritise global sharing of Covid-19 vaccines through the CoVax facility.”