France extends Covid vaccination to children aged 5-11
French Health Minister Olivier Veran has announced that the Covid vaccination campaign for children aged 5-11 is now open, proceeding with a plan announced last week to help protect youngsters from the threat of new variants.
The country’s National Authority for Health (HAS) backed opening up the country’s Covid vaccination scheme to young children on Monday, stating that it should be done “as soon as the pediatric formulation” of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine is ready.
In France, officials were already administering the Covid vaccine to children who are “at risk” of contracting a severe form of the virus but the decision from HAS extends vaccination to all children.
Rolling out the vaccine to young children, HAS admitted that the move had been made to reduce the threat posed by the fast-spreading Omicron variant. The agency was concerned there was a risk the strain could cause “an increase in the number of cases of severe forms of the disease in children.”
“Even if the impact of vaccinating children on the current wave would only be very limited, it could potentially reduce the impact of subsequent waves by reducing the circulation of the virus in the general population,” HAS stated.
While opening up Covid vaccines to children aged 5-11, HAS was clear that it should be done “without obligation and without this being a condition for obtaining a health pass.”
France introduced a health pass back in July, which now requires all over-12s to show they’ve been fully vaccinated, recently recovered from the virus or tested negative in the past 48 hours before entering hospitality businesses, cultural and leisure venues or traveling on public transport.
So far, France has administered a total of 113,712,660 doses of a Covid vaccine since its rollout began. While the jab is voluntary for most citizens, earlier this year the government ordered all healthcare workers to get vaccinated.