Vaccines that have received authorization by stringent regulatory authorities for the age indication of children and adolescents are safe and effective in reducing disease burden in these age groups. WHO has so far granted Emergency Use Listing for Comirnaty® Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine paeditaric formulation for children 5-11 years old and adult formulation for age 12 and above.
The decision to vaccinate healthy children and adolescents must consider the need to fully protect the higher-priority groups first. WHO has qualified children and adolescents with underlying medical conditions as being at increased risk of severe COVID-19 and therefore among these priority groups.
Healthy children tend to have milder COVID-19 disease compared to adults, however cases of children with severe disease, multi-inflammatory disease syndrome and long COVID have been reported. In addition, there may be benefits of vaccination that go beyond the direct health benefits to children and adolescents. Vaccination minimizes disruptions to education for children, which helps to maintain their overall well-being, health and safety.
It is important for children’s health that opportunities for vaccination against COVID-19 are used to follow up on any missed routine vaccination during the pandemic by children and for catch-up of missed doses.