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After Thursday’s announcement, Austrian Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein said the government would now prepare for a nationwide program.

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EPICENTRE AGAIN

Surging cases in Europe have prompted new unpopular curbs on movement https://reut.rs/3nPYov1 as winter grips the region and people gather indoors for celebrations in the run-up to Christmas, providing perfect conditions for COVID-19 to spread.

Slovakia started a two-week lockdown on Thursday, following the lead of Austria, while the Portuguese and French governments are considering more restrictions.

While health experts have pushed the wider use of booster shots to try and avoid hospitals being overwhelmed as immunity from earlier shots wanes, vaccinating younger people is another tool in fighting the virus.

However, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday that as children and adolescents are at lower risk of severe COVID-19, countries should prioritize adults and sharing doses with the COVAX program aimed at supplying the world’s poorest countries which have struggled to get vaccines.

Some countries have limited the use of COVID-19 shots based on the so-called mRNA technology used by Pfizer-BioNTech to younger people after reports of possible rare cardiovascular side-effects.

Top U.S. infectious disease official Anthony Fauci told Reuters this week there had been no sign of any new safety issues since the rollout of vaccines for younger kids started earlier this month.

At least 10% of the 28 million eligible U.S. children have had a first dose.

No serious safety concerns related to the vaccine have been identified in trials, Pfizer and BioNTech said in a statement.

Some medics reacted with caution, saying that as children may not get as sick as adults, there was less urgency.

“There is great public, political, and social pressure for school children to be vaccinated to avoid outbreaks in schools, but the safeguarding of public health cannot be taken based on ‘guessing’,” Ana Rita Cavaco, head of Portugal’s nurses association, said.

Source : https://canoe.com/news/world/eu-regulator-gives-go-ahead-to-first-covid-shot-for-5-11-year-olds/wcm/8997893c-6c2a-44f7-91b8-9ff40869f5fa

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