The Swedish government has refused to recommend vaccinating children under the age of 12 for COVID-19 after stating that there would be little medical benefit from doing so.
The Swedish National Board of Public Health said in a press release on Thursday that the medical benefit for an individual child aged 5-11 who has received a general vaccination against COVID-19 “is currently small” and that while the situation is “constantly” assessed, it has decided not to recommend a general vaccination of children under the age of 12 for the spring semester 2022.
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“With the knowledge we have today, with a low risk of serious illness for children, we do not see any clear benefit in vaccinating them,” the health department’s official, Britta Bjorkholm, said during a press conference, Reuters reported.
Karin Tegmark Wisell, director general of the agency, said that an updated guide would be provided prior to the fall period, the press release said.
“A general vaccination from the age of 5 is also not expected to have any major effect on the spread of infection at present, neither in the group of children aged 5-11 years nor among other groups in the population,” the statement said.
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The Swedish government has recommended vaccines for children aged 12 and older since October 2021 and recommends vaccines for high-risk children between 5 and 11 years.
The news comes a day after the Swedish government extended COVID-19-related restrictions for two weeks, including limited opening hours and capacity limits for restaurants and indoor venues, Reuters reported.