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WHO expert panel approves Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11

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WHO expert panel approves Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11

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The World Health Organization, which has been reluctant to endorse the widespread use of boosters and slow to recommend childhood vaccinations, decided on Friday to revise its advice on both fronts, bringing its guidance closer to that of the most rich countries, including the United States. States.

An agency advisory committee has recommended expanding the use of a reduced dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to children ages 5 to 11. It also recommended that frontline healthcare workers, the elderly and people in other high-risk groups who have been inoculated receive a booster dose four to six months after their initial doses.

The committee had previously authorized boosters for those with weakened immune systems.

As many countries – fearing waning immunity and new waves of infection – have begun rolling out booster campaigns, the WHO has warned that such efforts could undermine those aimed at getting much-needed vaccines to poorer countries.

About 60% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, but only 9.4% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, according to Our World in Data.

In August, before the Omicron variant was identified, the WHO called for a global moratorium on recalls to increase the distribution of vaccines to countries that need them most. But Omicron has once again muddied its efforts to get ahead of the virus, and mounting evidence suggests older people can benefit from boosters.

The CDC released data on Thursday suggesting that the risk of hospitalization for unvaccinated Americans aged 50 to 64 with Covid was much higher than for those in the age group who were vaccinated and received a booster shot. .

Dr Katherine O’Brien, director of the WHO’s department of immunization, vaccines and biologicals, said the agency’s new guidelines were in line with its central aim – to protect those most at risk from risk of serious illness and death.

But the agency still doesn’t go as far as many wealthy countries, which now offer boosters to all adults. In the United States, the CDC recently went a step further by approving booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children 12 and older.

WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said on Tuesday that “there is no evidence at this time” that healthy children and adolescents need an extra dose, adding that the The recall program’s goal is to protect “those most at risk of serious illness and dying.”

WHO expert panel approves Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11

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