WHO Asks for Child Covid-19 Vaccination to be Postponed

UMMATIMES - The World Health Organization (WHO) called on richer countries to postpone plans for Covid-19 vaccination for children and adolescents. WHO is encouraging these countries to supply more of their vaccine stocks under the Covax scheme.

WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlighted that the current international distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine is very uneven. Since it was approved for use last December, richer countries have bought up most of the existing Covid-19 vaccine stocks.

Many countries are vying for vaccine stocks in order to vaccinate as many of their population as possible. This condition makes poorer countries unable to get enough stocks of the Covid-19 vaccine.

There are several countries that already have plans to vaccinate children in the near future. One of them is the United States. President of the United States Joe Biden plans to immediately implement a vaccination program in children aged 12 to 15 years.

Another country, namely Canada, has allowed the use of the Covid Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years. Several regions in Switzerland have also offered Covid-19 vaccination programs for children aged at least 16 years.

In a virtual press conference, Ghebreyesus said he was aware of the desire of some countries to start vaccinating children and adolescents. However, the current situation led Ghebreyesus to ask these countries to rethink their plans.

"In low and middle income countries, the supply of the Covid-19 vaccine is not sufficient even to immunize health workers, and many hospitals are flooded with people who need immediate life-saving care," concluded Ghebreyesus, as reported by the BBC.

In India, for example, many health workers at the forefront have not been vaccinated and have to deal with Covid-19 patients. Not a few health workers have died due to Covid-19.

Ghebreyesus appealed to these countries to shift more of their vaccine stocks under the Covax scheme. The Covax Scheme is a global scheme created with the aim of vaccinating 20 percent of the population in the 92 poorer countries that registered. This vaccination program will be started from health workers.

The scheme is led by WHO, the Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi). Apart from that, Unicef ​​is also a key implementation partner in the Covax scheme.