The Swedish government announced Thursday that it would not be recommending COVID-19 vaccines for children’s ages 5-11 because there is not sufficient evidence that the benefits of the jabs outweigh the risk of infection, according to the country’s health agency.
“With the knowledge we have today, with a low risk for serious disease for kids, we don’t see any clear benefit with vaccinating them,” Health Agency official Britta Bjorkholm said at a news conference on Thursday.
“As before during the pandemic, children are at a significantly lower risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease compared with adults,” the Swedish government added in a press release. “In general, the younger the child, the lower the risk. Since the end of October 2021, the Swedish Public Health Agency has been recommending general vaccination against covid-19 from the age of 12 in Sweden. This is based on the benefit to the individual child.”
“Discussions about the decision have been held with the Pediatricians’ Association, the School Medical Association, the National Association of School Nurses, the Child Psychiatric Association, the Swedish Society for Infectious Diseases, vaccine coordinators within the regions, Swedish Municipalities and Regions (SKR), the Medical Products Agency and the Swedish Medical Council (Smer),” the government added.
The decision comes as states like New York are pushing for all children ages five and up to be vaccinated. In early January, New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul launched a #VaxForKids campaign, urging parents and medical doctors to promote vaccination against COVID-19 for children between the ages of 5-12.
“The best protection for our kids is to ensure they get vaccinated and keep up with all recommended vaccine doses,” Hochul claimed. “As COVID-19 continues to spread, the best armor for our children is the vaccine. It’s safe, effective, free, and over a half million children in New York between 5-11 years old have already gotten their first dose so far. With the #VaxForKids campaign, we are doubling down on our efforts to get this critical message out to even more parents and guardians.”
New York’s Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett also said, “Since the emergence of the Omicron variant, COVID-19 cases and even hospitalizations are rising among children. There has never been a more important time for pediatricians, parents, and guardians to ensure children five and older get vaccinated and stay up-to-date with all recommended doses.”
“Vaccines have been the backbone of pediatric care for decades, protecting our children against countless diseases. The COVID-19 vaccine is no different,” Basset added. “I urge New Yorkers to make sure their children get fully vaccinated – and their third dose when eligible – so they have meaningful and continued protection against the virus.”
In late November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the vaccine was safe for children age 5 – 11:
COVID-19 vaccines have undergone – and will continue to undergo – the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Vaccinating children will help protect them from getting COVID-19 and therefore reducing their risk of severe disease, hospitalizations, or developing long-term COVID-19 complications. Getting your children vaccinated can help protect them against COVID-19, as well as reduce disruptions to in-person learning and activities by helping curb community transmission.
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