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Children at lower risk from COVID, vaccines should go to poor - WHO

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By Reuters
Children at lower risk from COVID, vaccines should go to poor - WHO
Children at lower risk from COVID, vaccines should go to poor - WHO   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p>By Stephanie Nebehay</p> <p><span class="caps">GENEVA</span> – As children and adolescents are at lower risk of severe <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 disease, countries should prioritise adults and sharing vaccine doses with the <span class="caps">COVAX</span> programme to bring supplies to poorer countries, the World Health Organisation said on Wednesday.</p> <p>Some rare cases of heart inflammation called myocarditis have been reported in younger men who received vaccines based on mRNA technoloy – Pfizer BioNtech and Moderna – but these were generally mild and responded to treatment, it said.</p> <p>Although that risk had not been fully determined, it was less than the risk of myocarditis linked to <span class="caps">SARS</span>-CoV-2 infection, it said.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">WHO</span>’s interim guidance was issued as more regulatory agencies authorise certain vaccines for use in children, including the United States, China, European Union, India and Israel, and most recently Canada last week. nL1N2SA17Z] </p> <p>“As children and adolescents tend to have milder disease compared to adults, unless they are in a group at higher risk of severe <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19, it is less urgent to vaccinate them than older people, those with chronic health conditions and health workers,” the <span class="caps">WHO</span> said.</p> <p>Children can experience “long <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19” with prolonged symptoms but this was still under investigation, it said.</p> <p>Several risk factors for severe <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 in children have been reported including older age, obesity and pre-existing conditions including type 2 diabetes, asthma and heart disease, it added.</p> <p>Maintaining education for all school-aged children should be an important priority during the pandemic, although transmission mitigation measures might be needed in schools, the <span class="caps">WHO</span> said.</p> <p>Given vaccine supply constraints, immunisation programmes should focus on protecting groups at high risk of hospitalisation and death, the <span class="caps">WHO</span> said. </p> <p>“As many parts of the world face extreme vaccine shortages, countries with high coverage in at-risk populations should prioritize global sharing of <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 vaccines before vaccinating children, adolescents,” it said.</p> <p/> </div>