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Health Ministry studying vaccinating children

  • Multiple requests including from paediatricians

By Buddhika Samaraweera

 

The Health Ministry is studying the possibility of administering Covid-19 vaccines to children, taking into account the requests made by a number of parties, including paediatricians, according to Family Health Bureau Maternal and Child Health Services Director Dr. Chithramalee de Silva.

Adding that steps have been taken to vaccinate children in several countries including the US, Dr. de Silva said that studies on child vaccination were being carried out in view of the data published in those countries.

“We must move forward based on the available evidence and data. The cost which will have to be borne and its cost effectiveness should also be studied,” she noted.

Meanwhile, Consultant in Clinical Immunology and Allergy Prof. Suranjith Seneviratne, when contacted by The Morning, said that children infected with the Covid-19 virus are less likely to have serious complications, but that it is important to administer Covid-19 vaccines to children as they can transmit the virus to adults. Prof. Seneviratne is attached to the Immunity and Transplantation Institute, the Royal Free Hospital, and the University College, London, UK, and is the Consultant Speciality Lead of Immunology at the Health Services Laboratories.

Older children transmit the virus faster than younger children while young children are more likely to become infected with the virus, he further noted.

Speaking further, Prof. Seneviratne added that Covid-19 vaccines need to undergo appropriate clinical trials in children and then be authorised and approved for use by global regulatory bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHPRA), and then by local authorities.