A new formulation of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated high efficacy against COVID-19 in children in a clinical trial and has been authorized by stringent regulatory authorities (e.g. FDA and EMA) for use in children from the age of 5 to 11 years.
While (as of December 2021) the WHO has not yet granted Emergency Use Listing for any COVID-19 vaccines for use among children below 12 years of age, national immunization technical advisory groups (NITAGs) in some countries have determined that the known and potential benefits of the vaccine outweigh the known and potential risks of its use in this age group.
Healthy children tend to have milder disease compared to adults, however cases of children with severe disease, multi-inflammatory disease syndrome and long COVID have been reported.
Vaccinating school-aged children may possibly reduce the number of infections at schools and thus help minimize school disruptions. However, more evidence is needed to better understand the impact of vaccination of children on SARS-Cov-2 transmission in schools and communities.
It is vital for children’s health that vaccination of children against COVID-19 does not interfere with or reduce in any way the continuing routine vaccination of children and adolescents and catch-up vaccination of those who missed doses during the pandemic.