Sat, 13 Aug 2022

DUBLIN, Ireland: Irish health officials have begun plans to administer Covid vaccines to children 5 to 11 years old, as they expect to receive approval within days.

This follows approval by the EU's drug regulator for the use of Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine for children, in a bid to slow the ongoing surge of Covid-19 throughout Europe.

The European Medicines Agency said that a panel of experts "recommended granting an extension of indication for the Covid-19 vaccine. to include use in children aged 5 to 11."

Meanwhile, Tnaiste Leo Varadkar has told the Dil that he expects that the National Immunization Advisory Committee will approve vaccines for children in Ireland "in the coming days".

Pfizer's vaccine has only been approved in a small number of countries for children aged five to 11, including in the United States, Israel and Canada.

Plans call for children to receive one-third of the dose that older people receive, with two injections, three weeks apart, the EMA reported.

In a study of 2,000 children receiving the inoculation, the Covid vaccine was found to be 90.7 percent effective, it added.

The EMA "therefore concluded that the children aged five to 11 outweigh the risks, particularly in those with conditions that increase the risk of severe Covid-19."

Dr Clona N Cheallaigh, Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine physician at St James's Hospital, called the decision to vaccinate children, "brilliant news."

"I think what we've learnt, unfortunately, and particularly with the Delta strain, is that vaccination alone isn't enough to control things, but it's part of the multiple layers of things that we need to do to keep Covid under control.

"So vaccination of children may help reduce overall community levels, and then we can also look at additional measures, like masks in primary school aged children and improving ventilation in classrooms."

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