The French High Regulatory Authority (HAS) has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 for all children aged 5-11.
The vaccine, which will be given to pediatric patients when it becomes widely available, has been shown to be very effective in children, said Liz Alter, one of the doctors tasked with assessing the risk of the new drugs.
“HAS recommends that all parents who wish to be able to vaccinate their children aged 5-11,” he added.
Last week, France began vaccinating children aged 5-11 with medical problems that require special protection and stepped up logistical support for all children in this age group as soon as HAS approved the move.
French President Emmanuel Macron said last week that he was in favor of vaccinating children, but added that the issue should remain a decision of the parents.
“With the advent of the Omicron variant, which is more contagious than the Delta variant, we can expect an increase in severe forms. [της ασθένειας] “to children with pre-existing medical problems,” said Alter.
Since the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the use of a lower dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the 5-11 age group last month, several countries in the European Union have started vaccinating children in this age group.
In Belgium, too, children are being vaccinated
Moreover, Belgium today gives the green light for the COVID-19 vaccination of children aged 5-11.
The “free and voluntary” vaccination of children “can only be done with the consent of the parents or the legal guardian”, it is clarified in a statement that was published after a meeting with the participation of the health ministers of the federal state.
The vaccine will be given with the pediatric formulation of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, “administered in two doses at 21-day intervals”, the text said, recalling that the vaccine has been approved by the EMA.
The first ‘invitations’ for vaccination will be available from the end of December. They are aimed especially at children with comorbidities, for whom vaccination is “strongly recommended” because “they protect against serious forms of the disease caused by the virus”, it is added in the announcement.
The vaccine is also recommended for children without comorbidities: in this way they will be able to benefit from better personal protection by contributing to that of vulnerable people in their environment and society as a whole.
The Belgian authorities have clarified that the vaccination status of children will have no effect on their social activities – no health certificate is required for this age group.
Around 10,000 infections are reported daily on average in Belgium, a country of 11.5 million people, according to the latest data from the Sciensano Institute of Public Health.