Children getting tested for symptoms of coronavirus Photograph:( AFP )
The European Commission on Friday authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12, paving the way for a broader roll-out in the bloc after similar clearances in the United States and Canada.
The use of the COVID-19 vaccine has been extended to persons over the age of 12 in Canada, the United States, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, Chile, and Japan. Germany and Poland have also announced that vaccinations for children above the age of 12 will begin on June 7.
Earlier this year, Israel expanded its vaccine campaign to include anyone aged 16 and up.
However, the World Health Organization has advised rich countries to offer shots to the COVAX scheme instead of vaccinating teenagers in affluent countries while many regions of the world wait for dosages for older and more vulnerable people.
Following is a list of nations that have approved or are contemplating vaccinating children:
* Italy on May 31 approved extending the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 12-15-year-olds.
* Germany plans to offer the first shot to children aged 12-16 from June 7, while Poland would offer shots to those aged 12-15 the same day.
* France could begin inoculating teens aged 16-18 by June, with 12-15-year-olds receiving shots at the start of the school year.
* Lithuania’s prime minister said the country could start vaccinating children from age 12 in June, news site Delfi reported.
* Estonia could start vaccinating teenagers by the autumn, public broadcaster ERR reported, citing the head of the government’s COVID-19 council.
* Romania’s prime minister said children from age 12 could start receiving shots from June 1, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
* Austria aims to have over 340,000 children aged 12-15 vaccinated by the end of August, according to news site Vindobona.
* Hungary started vaccinating 16-18-year-olds in mid-May, according to Xinhua news agency.
* Pfizer said in mid-May it was seeking British approval to use its vaccine for 12-15-year-olds.
* Norway may consider the Pfizer vaccine for children who have a high risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, VG newspaper reported.
* Switzerland’s health watchdog said in early May Pfizer had sought approval for its shot in children aged 12-15.
* Israel expanded its vaccination drive to 16-18 year-olds in January and is this week set to rule on approving shots for those aged 12-15.
* Dubai said on June 1 it had started offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 12-15-year-olds after the United Arab Emirates approved the shot for emergency use for the same age group in mid-May.
* Singapore opened up its vaccination programme to adolescents aged 12-18 from June 1.
* Japan on May 28 approved the use of Pfizer’s vaccine for those aged 12 and above.
* The Philippines on May 26 decided to allow the Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for emergency use in children aged 12-15.
* Chile on May 31 approved the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for 12-16-year-olds.
* US states began to inoculate young adolescents in mid-May after its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved Pfizer’s shot for those aged 12-15.
* Canada in early May approved the use of Pfizer’s vaccine for use in children aged 12-15.
(With inputs from Agencies)