More than 6 million children have been vaccinated in Pakistan so far. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged the government to focus more on vaccinating adults and the elderly than youngsters.

The WHO has issued a statement in collaboration with Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunisation and its Covid-19 Vaccines Working Group. The SAGE is gathering information from vaccine manufacturers and research communities to study the most recent data on COVID-19.

Though many vaccines are approved for people who are above 18 years, many shots are also administered to youngsters who are less than this age group. Pakistan is one of those countries that are using Moderna and Pfizer for adolescents (12–17-year-olds).

In November, the Pfizer vaccine was approved for children ages 5-11 years. Trials are also being carried in children as young as 3 years old but so far, they have not been approved for administration.

The WHO says that young children are less likely to suffer from severe COVID-19 symptoms as compared to adults.

It said, “Countries should consider the individual and population benefits of immunising children and adolescents in their specific epidemiological and social context when developing their Covid-19 immunisation policies and programmes. As children and adolescents tend to have milder disease compared to adults, unless they are in a group at higher risk of severe Covid-19, it is less urgent to vaccinate them than older people, those with chronic health conditions and health workers.”

“There are benefits of vaccinating children and adolescents that go beyond the direct health benefits. Vaccination that decreases Covid-19 transmission in this age group may reduce transmission from children and adolescents to adults, and may help reduce the need for mitigation measures in schools. Minimising disruptions to education for children and maintenance of their overall well-being, health and safety are important considerations, “it added.

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