The World Health Organization recommended against vaccinating children “for the moment” in its June update.
“There is not yet enough evidence on the use of vaccines against COVID-19 in children to make recommendations for children to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Children and adolescents tend to have milder disease compared to adults,” the WHO wrote.
Since first published, the update has been slightly changed to claim that children who are in a high-risk group should still consider taking the vaccine.
“Children and adolescents tend to have milder disease compared to adults, so unless they are a part of a group at higher risk of severe COVID-19, it is less urgent to vaccinate them than older people, those with chronic health conditions and health workers,” the WHO states.
“More evidence is needed on the use of the different COVID-19 vaccines in children to be able to make general recommendations on vaccinating children against COVID-19.”
True North reached out to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to confirm its own guidance on vaccinating children.
According to the Government of Canada, it is “important for everyone, including adolescents 12 to 18 years of age, to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when it’s their turn.”
Currently the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is approved for use by adolescents over the age of 12 in Canada.
“This reflects the WHO messaging from their Strategic Advisory Group of Experts which ‘concluded that the Pfizer/BionTech vaccine is suitable for use by people aged 12 years and above,'” PHAC media relations advisor André Gagnon told True North.
In British Columbia, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stated that the province will continue to vaccinate people between 12 to 18 years old despite there existing no clear general recommendations from the WHO on the matter.
“That’s the decisions we’ve made in Canada and in many other countries,” Henry said.
“We know that there has been studies done looking at safety and efficacy in children down to age 12, and there are additional studies being done in children down to six months of age.”
Several health organizations including SickKids Hospital have recently noted that they have witnessed cases of heart inflammation in youth following COVID-19 vaccinations.