Children at lower risk of COVID, vaccines must go to the poor – WHO

Ethiopian Airlines cargo terminal workers unload a shipment of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines that arrived under the COVAX plan, at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 19, 2021. REUTERS/Texa Negeri

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  • WHO issues guidance on immunizing children and adolescents
  • Young people say they are less likely to catch COVID than adults
  • Obesity, asthma and heart disease are risk factors for children
  • Rare cases of myocarditis in young adults after mRNA vaccines

GENEVA (Reuters) – Children and adolescents are at lower risk of severe Covid-19 disease, so countries should prioritize adults and share vaccine doses with COFEX to get supplies to poor countries, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

Rare cases of a heart inflammation called myocarditis have been reported in younger men who received mRNA-based vaccines – Pfizer (PFE.N) piontic(22UAy.DE) and modern (mrna.o) – but she said these were generally mild and responded to treatment.

She said that although this risk has not been fully identified, it was less than the risk of developing myocarditis associated with SARS infection.

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The WHO’s interim guidance was issued as more regulators allowed the use of certain vaccines for children, including the United States, China, the European Union, India, Israel, and most recently Canada last week. Read more nL1N2SA17Z]

“Because children and adolescents tend to have milder disease than adults, unless they are in a group at higher risk of severe COVID-19, their vaccination is less urgent than the elderly, those with chronic health conditions and health workers,” the WHO said. .

She added that children can contract “long-term Covid-19” with prolonged symptoms, but this is still being investigated.

She added that several risk factors for severe COVID-19 have been reported in children including old age, obesity and pre-existing conditions including type 2 diabetes, asthma and heart disease.

The World Health Organization said maintaining education for all school-age children should be an important priority during the pandemic, although measures to mitigate transmission may be necessary in schools.

The World Health Organization said that given vaccine supply constraints, immunization programs should focus on protecting groups at high risk of hospitalization and death.

“As many parts of the world face severe vaccine shortages, countries with high coverage of at-risk populations must prioritize global participation in COVID-19 vaccines before vaccinating children and adolescents,” she added.

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(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay) Editing by John Boyle and Alex Richardson

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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