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Norway opens Covid jabs to 5-11 year-olds

AFP
AFP - [email protected] • 14 Jan, 2022 Updated Fri 14 Jan 2022 15:10 CEST
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A child receives a dose of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid 19 vaccine at the Clemenceau rehabilitation center in Strasbourg on December 22, 2021 as France opened today vaccinations to children aged between five and eleven in its latest step to combat a fresh wave of cases. - The number of daily Covid-19 cases in France is set to exceed 100 000 by the end of December due to the faster-spreading Omicron variant, French Health Minister said. France recorded almost 73 000 new infections on December 21, with an average of over 54 000 over the last seven days. But officials fear that the emergence of Omicron has changed the nature of the pandemic. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

Norway said Friday it would open Covid vaccinations to 5-11 year-olds on a voluntary basis but stopped short of issuing an official recommendation.

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Parents can choose to have children aged between 5 and 11 vaccinated on a voluntary basis, but the Norwegian government has not issued a official recommendation for parents to vaccinated children in this age group. 

In addition, children aged 12 to 15, who have until now been offered a single dose of the vaccine, may now receive a second dose if their parents wish, the health ministry said.

"Children rarely fall severely ill (from Covid) and knowledge about rare side effects and long-term consequences remains limited for now", Health Minister Ingvild Kjerkol said in a statement.

"The benefit (of vaccination) for most children is limited and the (Norwegian) Institute of Public Health has no official recommendation that all
children between 5 and 11 should be vaccinated... but it can be relevant for certain groups", she added.

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The offer was addressed in particular to children suffering from chronic illnesses, families where the children are in direct contact with people at risk, or children who will be travelling to countries where the pandemic is raging and access to good healthcare may be difficult.

Almost 90 percent of Norway's adult population has received at least two doses of a Covid vaccine.

Despite a surge in cases due to Omicron -- which has not led to a rise in hospitalisations -- the Norwegian government on Thursday eased some of its Covid curbs.

It notably lifted a ban on the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants, but ordered them to close at 11pm and only welcome seated customers.

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AFP 2022/01/14 15:10

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