Pediatric working group ‘reactivated’ to advise on Covid vaccines for over-5s

Portugal’s DGS health authority “wants to know if pediatricians recommend the Covid vaccine for children over the age of 5”, reports Expresso this morning.

Considering the pediatric working group was deeply divided over the need to vaccinate children over the age of 12, this new question is bound to stir up strong opinions (click here).

Countries like Israel, and the United States have already taken the plunge to roll-out mRNA Covid vaccines in the under-5s even though this age-group seems to suffer almost no serious consequences as a result of infection by SARS-CoV.-2. 

Australia is described as “watching closely” but “likely” to follow (click here). And a leaked report in the UK suggests that health officials there are also gearing up to vaccinate children from the age of 5 (click here).

All four countries have lower vaccination coverage than Portugal.

In the European context, EMA – the European Medicines Agency – is believed to be on the point of giving Pfizer’s 10-microgram ‘kiddies dose’ the green-light, while data from Infarmed shows that the most new cases are recorded in children under the age of 9. 

“Faced with this, according to RTP, the DGS has reactivated the technical group of pediatricians to give an opinion: is it safe and advisable to vaccinate these children against Covid-19?” writes Expresso.

“The contribution will serve, once again, for the organisation led by Graça Freitas to make its opinion to deliver to the government shortly”.

In other words, the final decision will be left to politicians.

Everything depends on EMA’s ‘conclusions’, which, according to Reuters, are not due to be delivered before Wednesday November 24.

With so much focus in the media on Europe’s new wave of Covid infections – and the need to combat the rising number of infections with even more vaccinations – it is worth looking at Israel again, a country that is well into its roll-out of 3rd booster shots, to see how this strategy might be working.

According to the Times of Israel, “the reproduction rate (R-number) rose on Friday to 1, indicating the virus is again spreading, even as serious cases continue to wane”.

Israeli health officials have warned that “fresh restrictions could be imposed if the Covid rates continue to rise”, says the online.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com