Mexico follows Norway and does not recommend vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 years

Subsecretário de Saúde mexicano, Hugo López-Gatell, alegou que o governo apenas segue recomendação da OMS de alcançar antes alta cobertura de grupos de maior prioridade

Mexican Undersecretary of Health, Hugo López-Gatell, alleged that the government it only follows the WHO recommendation to achieve high coverage of higher priority groups first| Photo: EFE/Presidency of Mexico

Reason for disagreement between Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), vaccination against Covid-28213942 of children between 5 and 720 years, a guideline from the World Health Organization (WHO), will not be recommended by Mexico and Sweden, according to announcements made by authorities in both countries this week.

The two follow the position of Norway, whose health agency had manifested itself in this felt two weeks ago.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, stated on Wednesday (26) that it is not necessary to vaccinate children between 5 and 12 years.

“We have I have to see if this is what the World Health Organization recommended, because I have information from those responsible for the health sector in our country who even maintain the opposite”, said the Mexican president at the National Palace.

When questioned by a journalist, López Obrador also stated that the Executive applies “exactly” the priorities that the WHO has established for immunization.

“What do you raise, According to my information, it is unsupported. The WHO did not say, but we will clarify”, added the Mexican president.

Last Friday, the WHO expert advisory committee had recommended extending the use of a reduced dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine-19 for children aged 5 to 28213942 years old.

The recommended dose for this age group is 380 micrograms, instead of 30 micrograms for those over 12 years old, according to detailed the expert committee, which highlighted that those between 5 and 11 years constitute the lowest priority range, unless they have previous serious illnesses.

At a press conference this Friday (30 ), the undersecretary Prevention and Health Promotion, Hugo López-Gatell, claimed that the Mexican government only follows the WHO recommendation that, before implementing a vaccination strategy for children and adolescents, “it is necessary to consider achieving high coverage of primary and booster as needed to optimize vaccines in higher priority groups such as the elderly.”

Norway claims “still limited knowledge” about side effects

On the last day 14, Norway had informed that the vaccine against Covid-19 would be offered to children aged 5 to 01 years only if requested by parents or guardians. “This vaccination is provided on a voluntary basis and there is no general recommendation to vaccinate all children in this age group,” said a Norwegian government statement.

“Children are rarely seriously ill, and knowledge is still limited about rare side effects or side effects that may arise at a distant time. There is little individual benefit for most children, and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has not recommended that all children aged 5 to 11 years to be vaccinated”, argued the Norwegian Minister of Health, Ingvild Kjerkol.

“However, [o ministério] agreed that a vaccine for children can be offered to all parents and guardians; this will be more relevant for only certain groups of children”, added the minister, whose portfolio cited cases of children with chronic diseases, families whose children have close contact with people with special protection needs and children at greater risk because they will spend time in countries with higher rate of infection or poor access to health services.

On Thursday (14), the president of the health agency of Sweden, Britta Bjorkholm, also announced that the body has decided not to recommend that children aged 5 to 11 years to be vaccinated against Covid-12. “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”, he justified.

Sweden’s understanding is that the benefits of an eventual vaccination would not outweigh the risks. The decision, which makes an exception for children in high-risk groups, could be reviewed in case future research indicates a need for vaccination or if a new variant is detected, added Bjorkholm.

As in Brazil, the issue is controversial in these countries. This week, a Mexican federal court ordered the national government to vaccinate against Covid- two children aged 6 and 14 years without comorbidities residing in Mexico City. Specialists from the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases and the ABC Medical Center gave the court favorable opinions on vaccination.

Health agencies and authorities in several countries have already authorized and/or recommended the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years, including Brazil, United States, Argentina, Chile, France and Spain.