Ireland offers vaccines to all children aged 5-11

The vaccination campaign will be organised at 219 pediatric vaccination centres nationwide. Romania started administering the COVID vaccines to people aged between 12 and 18 years on 2 June, and the cumulative uptake is around 7% in this age group, according to ECDC data. [EPA-EFE/Tamas Vasvari]

Ireland on Sunday began offering COVID-19 vaccinations to all children in the 5-11 years age group.

Vaccines had already been rolled out to children with underlying health conditions and those living with people particularly vulnerable to the virus, but appointments were made available to all last Monday (3 January).

The number of children registered to receive a first dose had reached 82,000 by Saturday (8 January) evening, Paul Reid, the head of Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE), said on Sunday.

“While we know that most children in the 5-11 age group will experience a very mild form of this disease, for a small few, they may become severely ill”, said Dr Tony Holohan, HSE Chief Medical Officer. “Vaccines are doing an excellent job of preventing severe illness and disease in those who are fully vaccinated. This is good news.”

Record numbers of infections and significant staff absences in many sectors, including healthcare, have significantly strained the health service in recent weeks.

In a joint statement with Dr Holohan and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, Professor Karina Butler, Chair of Ireland’s National Immunisation Advisory Council, urged all parents and guardians to encourage their children to receive a vaccination as soon as possible.

“As a paediatric doctor, I know that many parents and guardians will have genuine concerns and questions about COVID-19 vaccination for their children”, she said.

“However, when the available evidence relating to the risk COVID-19 can pose to some children, as well as the significant negative impact on the lives of all of them, particularly the educational and social lives of our children, are considered, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks,” she added.

(Molly Killeen | EURACTIV.com)

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