Vaccines have not received Emergency Licence for children, says WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says while some countries have embarked on programs to vaccinate children, most of the vaccines on the market are not licenced for use on children.
Zimbabwe is among the countries that have tabled the ambitious exercise to vaccinate children.
According to the Deputy Minister of Health John Mangwiro, vaccinating children will help the country reach herd immunity.
The country is targeting to vaccinate at least 60% of its estimated 16 million people.
Currently, the country is said to be sitting on 40% on its journey towards herd immunity.
Zimbabwe is mainly using Sinopharm from China, to inoculate its citizens, coupled with Sinovac and Covaxin.
However, while acknowledging the various programs to vaccinate children across the world, WHO said it was still reviewing data on the need to include children.
In a statement, WHO, said ‘’with support of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization and its COVID-19 Vaccines Working Group, is reviewing the emerging evidence on the need for and timing of vaccinating children and adolescents with the currently available COVID-19 vaccines which have received Emergency Use Listing (EUL).
‘’SAGE is continuously reviewing the literature and has reached out to vaccine manufacturers, the research community and Member States to obtain the most complete and recent data on the issue.
‘’This interim statement was developed with additional support from the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group of Experts (STAGE) on maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health, and nutrition,’’ read the statement.
According to WHO, ‘’although the majority of COVID-19 vaccines are only approved for use in adults aged 18 years and above, an increasing number of vaccines are now also being authorized for use in children.
‘’Some countries have given emergency use authorization for mRNA vaccines for use in the adolescent age group (aged 12-17 years): BNT162b2 developed by Pfizer, and mRNA 1273 developed by Moderna.
‘’In November 2021, one stringent regulatory authority approved the mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 for use in children aged 5-11. Trials in children as young as age 3 years were completed for two inactivated vaccines (Sinovac-CoronaVac and BBIBP-CorV) and these products were approved by Chinese authorities for the age indication of 3-17 years; although these vaccine products have received EUL for adults, they have not yet received WHO EUL for children.
‘’Covaxin, an adjuvanted inactivated vaccine developed by Bharat, was approved in India for the age indication of 12-17 years; but not yet received WHO EUL for this age indication.
‘’The Indian regulatory authorities have given approval to ZycovD, a novel DNA vaccine, for ages 12-17 years; however, this vaccine has not yet received WHO EUL.
‘’Several COVID-19 vaccines are undergoing trials in younger age groups (including as young as 6 months of age), but results have not yet been published,’’ read the WHO Statement.