The Chief Scientist of the World Health Organisation, Soumya Swaminathan says the COVID-19 vaccination is not focused on children due to how the viral disease affects them.
The WHO scientist stated this during a WHO’s Live Q&A on COVID-19 Vaccines session held across the global health agency’s social media platforms.
Swaminathan noted that the COVID-19 has taken a remarkably different path in affecting children, noting that while children are usually severely affected by respiratory viral infections, they have been less affected by COVID-19.
She disclosed that less than one per cent of children globally have been affected by the COVID-19.
She, however, stated that the viral infection has severely affected older people and people with comorbidities, noting that the effect of the vaccine on the group prompted the decision of the WHO to prioritise them for COVID-19 vaccination.
Speaking at the virtual event, Swaminathan explained, “We are used to vaccinating children. Most of our vaccines are used to protect children but we are in an unusual situation where actually the target group is the older people who are at the highest risk.
“One thing we know about COVID-19 – across all the different variants – what has been consistent is that there’s a relationship with age. The older you get the more risk you have of getting severely ill.
“This in a way has been a relief to parents of young children because many other respiratory viral infections do affect young children quite severely but in this case, consistently from the beginning, we’ve seen that children get infections but in the majority of cases these are either asymptomatic or very mild, or just pass off as a cold, or you don’t even know the child is being exposed and infected and a very small proportion of children end up being hospitalised and well less than 1 per cent of all the global cases reported in children have died and because of that, we say that children are in the lowest risk category.”