Why are some countries vaccinating children?

The primary public health objectives of COVID-19 vaccination is to reduce severe disease and deaths and to maintain essential services.

This is why the highest priority in every country should be to vaccinate:

  • Individuals at highest risk of severe outcomes (immunocompromised individuals of any eligible age, including children from age 5; older adults; residents of long-term health care facilities; people with underlying health conditions; and disadvantaged socio-demographic groups, including refugees);
  • close contacts of immunocompromised persons;
  • identified essential services workers (e.g., front line health and social care workers and school teachers).

Countries that have reached high uptake with primary doses and a booster dose in the highest priority population groups, and that have the financial and programmatic means to do so can offer an approved paediatric formulation of COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 5-11.

In deciding whether to offer vaccines to healthy children from age 5, countries must consider the balance of benefits and risk of COVID-19 vaccination in this age group in their epidemiological context.

  • COVID-19 is generally less severe in healthy children aged 5−11 years, but it can occasionally result in serious disease.
  • Clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine in young children underwent a rigorous process, and were required to meet the same standards as for other vaccines.