Sweden’s government has declined to recommend vaccinating children under 12 years old for COVID-19 after determining there would be little medical benefit for doing so.
The Public Health Agency of Sweden said in a press release Thursday that the medical benefit for an individual child aged 5-11 who has received a general vaccination against COVID-19 “is currently small,” and that while the situation is being “constantly” assessed, it has decided against recommending a general vaccination of children under 12 years for the spring term of 2022.
“With the knowledge, we have today, with a low risk for serious disease for kids, we don’t see any clear benefit with vaccinating them,” Health Agency official Britta Bjorkholm said during a news conference, Reuters reported.
Karin Tegmark Wisell, director-general of the agency, said an updated guidance would be provided prior to the fall term, the press release said.
“A general vaccination from the age of 5 is also not expected to have any major effect on the spread of infection at present, neither in the group of children aged 5–11 nor among other groups in the population,” the release said.
The Swedish government has been recommending vaccines for children 12 and older since October 2021 and recommends vaccines for high-risk children between the ages of 5 and 11.
The news comes one day after Sweden’s government extended COVID-19-related restrictions for two weeks, including limited opening hours and capacity limits for restaurants and indoor venues, Reuters reported.