FACTBOX-COVID-19 vaccine rollout for children aged 5-11 in the EU

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The European Union rollout of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds should begin Dec. 13, as countries are expanding their vaccination programmes to include young children amid concerns over the infections surge in the continent and the new Omicron variant.

The following is a list of European Union countries with details of the vaccine rollout for children and country-specific regulations:

AUSTRIA

Rollout start: In Austria some provinces have been vaccinating children aged 5-11 years with a lower dose of the adult vaccine even before the EU recommendation

Administered by: federal states

BELGIUM

Rollout start: Still waiting for the green light from the Superior Council of Health and the Bioethics Committee, expected on Dec. 16.

BULGARIA

Rollout start: There are still no plans to vaccinate 5–11-year-olds.

CROATIA

Rollout start: Should start a few days after the vaccine arrives.

CYPRUS

Rollout start: The ministry of health of Cyprus, according to local media, will receive the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children on Dec. 13, with vaccinations due to start on Dec. 16.

Limitations: The ministry of health considering that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks decided for universal vaccination of children aged 5-11.

Administered by: Ministry of Health

CZECH REPUBLIC

Rollout start: The country has pre-ordered shots for 700,000 children aged 5-11 in the summer.

Administered by: Ministry of Health

DENMARK

Rollout start: Denmark in late November started vaccinating 5- to 11-year-olds, saying there was no time to lose amid rising infections among the youngest.

Limitations: According to Danish health authorities, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be offered following the authorization, and instructions given by the EMA.

ESTONIA

Rollout start: To begin in the second half of December.

Limitations: The course of vaccination consists of two doses that are administered with a six-week interval. A child who is currently suffering from an acute illness is not administered a vaccine. There is a separate recommendation regarding those who suffer from immunodeficiency, including immunodeficient children, stating that they require three doses for the initial vaccination.

Administered by: The vaccination will begin in family health centres and hospitals and, provided that the deliveries allow, it will later become possible to make the vaccine more widely available at different service providers, as well as consider vaccinating children at schools and also at public vaccination sites and pharmacies.

FINLAND

Rollout start: No confirmed date yet

Limitations: Children in Finland aged 5-years and over should be vaccinated against COVID-19 if they or someone in their household are at high risk of severe infection, the Finnish Health Institute recommended, opting against shots for all children.

Administered by: Ministry of Health

FRANCE

Rollout start: Dec. 15

Limitations: Vaccination will be open to 5-11-year-olds who are overweight or have a risky pathology, and it will be done on a voluntary basis

GERMANY

Rollout start: Some German doctors have already begun vaccinating children under 12 with a lower dose of the adult vaccine but many have been waiting for Germany’s vaccination advisory commission STIKO ruling, with vaccine campaigns for children already prepared across the country.

Limitations: STIKO recommends the vaccine be given to children aged 5-11 years with pre-existing conditions and says others could also request it.

Administered by: Ministry of Health and federal states

GREECE

Rollout start: Registration for children opened on Dec. 10, first shipment of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines for children are planned to arrive on Dec. 13 and vaccinations start on Dec. 15

Administered by: Ministry of Health. According to local media, the vaccination of children will be carried out in Primary Healthcare structures and in hospitals

HUNGARY

Rollout start: Dec. 15

Administered by: Ministry of Health

Target pace: Hungary is expected to receive 138,000 doses of vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, with the first shipment enough to vaccinate 69,000 children

IRELAND

Rollout start: Expected to begin in January.

Limitations: Children with an underlying condition, living with a younger child with complex medical needs and living with an immunocompromised adult will be prioritised for vaccination.

Administered by: Plan for delivering the vaccinations will be released in the coming days, the government said on Dec. 8.

ITALY

Rollout start: Dec. 15, the government stated on their website.

Limitations: A reduced dose (one third of the authorised dosage for adults and adolescents) will be given and vaccination will take place in two doses three weeks apart.

Administered by: Regions and provinces, that will be able to vaccinate children starting from Dec. 16.

LATVIA

Rollout start: Latvia’s National Immunisation Council predicts child vaccination may commence at the end of December.

Limitations: The second dose for children is recommended to be administered three months after the first.

LITHUANIA

Rollout start: Scheduled to begin on Dec. 15-16, when the vaccines are delivered to vaccination healthcare facilities.

LUXEMBOURG:

Rollout start: No official plans yet.

MALTA

Rollout start: From Dec. 14

Limitations: According to the Minister of Health Chris Fearne, vulnerable children will be vaccinated first

Administered by: The vaccine is available through government entities and through a number of general practitioners (GPs) who have registered their interest in administering the vaccine.

NETHERLANDS

Rollout start: To be announced

Limitations: The Dutch Health Council on Dec. 10 advised the government to make it possible for all children aged 5-11 to get coronavirus shots, having previously only recommended that children with underlying health issues be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Administered by: the Dutch Health Council

POLAND

Rollout start: Expected around Dec. 15.

Administered by: Ministry of Health

PORTUGAL

Rollout start: According to the Portuguese Health Government body, the first 300,000 vaccines for children will arrive on Dec. 13, and throughout January. The vaccination schedule will be presented on Dec. 10.

Limitations: The child dose will be lower, about a third of that of an adult. Inoculations will “probably” start by those who are 11 years old and progressively advance to those who are five, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said.

ROMANIA

Rollout start: Rollout will be determined by when the country receives vaccine doses specifically designed for the 5-11 age group.

SLOVAKIA

Rollout start: The vaccines should arrive on Dec. 17

Limitations: registration has been launched only for children with limited immunity, with registration for all children planned to be available soon after Dec. 13.

Administered by: the Ministry of Health

SLOVENIA

Rollout start: No official plans yet.

SPAIN

Rollout start: The campaign is supposed to begin with the arrival of the first doses, scheduled for Dec. 13. Afterwards, they will be distributed among the autonomous communities, which will be able to start the process on Dec. 15.

Limitations: It is recommended to vaccinate the oldest children in this age group and those with the greatest vulnerabilities first, according to a spokeswoman for the ministry of health. However, this is a flexible approach, the implementation of which will depend on the autonomous communities.

Administered by: It will be up to the regional authorities to establish rules on the vaccination of children.

SWEDEN

Rollout start: no official plans yet

(Compiled by Bartosz Dabrowski, Aida Pelaez Fernandez, Marta Serafinko, Antonis Triantafyllou and Filipe Braganca in Gdansk Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Photo – Medical personnel waits for the administration of covid19 vaccines to school staff at the ‘Fabbrica del Vapore’, Milan, Italy. EPA-EFE/MATTEO CORNER

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