Sweden decides not to recommend Covid vaccines for all children aged 5-11

Sweden will not at this stage recommend Covid-19 vaccinations for all children aged five to 11, unlike many other European countries.

Sweden decides not to recommend Covid vaccines for all children aged 5-11
File photo of a child receiving a second dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in Chicago. Photo: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

The Scandinavian country, which controversially opted against any form of lockdown or school closures during the pandemic’s early days, recommends jabs only for children who are at risk, and for everyone from the age of 12 and above.

“The vaccines are safe, there are very good vaccines but we are now focusing on the medical benefits of the individual child and we don’t see that the benefits are great enough for us to recommend for the whole group,” Britta Björklund of the Public Health Agency told a press conference on Thursday.

“We don’t see that we want to vaccinate a whole group of children for the sake of society,” she said.

“We want to see a clear benefit for the children themselves and the individual child so that’s why we don’t recommend it at the moment.”

However the decision could be reassessed if the health situation changes, the authorities said.

Neighbouring Denmark and Norway both offer the Covid-19 vaccine to 5-11-year-olds, although it’s not compulsory. It is also possible for parents to vaccinate their young children in countries such as France, Germany and Italy.

While Sweden chose not impose lockdowns early in the pandemic, it did ban visits to elderly care homes, limit the number of people attending public gatherings and restrict opening hours at bars and restaurants.

Like other European countries, the highly contagious Omicron variant has led to record numbers of new cases in the country of 10.3 million, with more than 50,000 cases recorded on Wednesday alone.

With over 15,700 fatalities so far, Sweden’s death toll is in line with the European average, but is far higher than those of neighbouring Norway, Finland and Denmark.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control recommends the use of Pfizer’s Comirnaty in children aged five and above, but also says that it depends on natinional prioritisation strategies, benefits and risk assessments and the epidemiological situation.

The Omicron wave has brought Sweden’s infection rate to record-high levels. Several regions have reported that their schools are struggling to stay open as Omicron continues to spread, with staff having to stay home because they’re infected or quarantining. Almost twice as many parents are staying home to take care of a sick child compared to this time last year, according to Sweden’s Social Insurance Agency.

Member comments

  1. Will they allow parents to give the vaccine to their 5-11 year olds for a fee, like with the chickenpox? Have others gotten the vaccine for their kids in other countries, and if so, how?

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EU approves new dual-strain Covid vaccines in time for autumn booster campaigns

The European Medicines Agency has approved two new Covid vaccines that are designed to protect against both the original strain of the virus and the new Omicron variants.

EU approves new dual-strain Covid vaccines in time for autumn booster campaigns

Both Pfizer and Moderna had submitted applications for their dual-strain vaccines to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in mid-July, with the agency announcing on Thursday that both had been approved.

The vaccines target both the Omicron variant and the original strain of Covid, but do not specifically target the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants that have emerged as the global dominant strains in recent months.

The EMA approval comes after the US approved both vaccines on Wednesday, while the UK approved the Moderna dual-strain vaccine in mid-August.

Within the EU, countries have the choice of accepting the EMA recommendation straight out, or asking their own domestic health regulator to give its approval.

The dual-strain vaccines are widely expected to be used in Covid booster shot campaigns this autumn, which many countries plan to combine with the annual flu vaccination drive.