Norwegian government refuses to recommend Covid vaccines for children

A vaccine will be offered to children aged 5–11 if so requested by their parents or guardians. This vaccination is provided on a voluntary basis, and there is no general recommendation to vaccinate all children in this age group.

Covid vaccine, Norwegian government refuses to recommend Covid vaccines for children

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Citing concerns about the vaccine’s side effects and the fact that the risk of death and hospitalization from Covid in children is very rare, the Norwegian government has stated that it will not recommend Covid vaccination for children.

‘Children rarely become seriously ill, and knowledge is still limited about rare side effects or side effects that may arise at a distant time. There is little individual benefit for most children, and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has not recommended that all children aged 5–11 be vaccinated. However, it has agreed that all parents and guardians may be offered a vaccine for their children; this will be most relevant to only a few groups of children,’ says Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol.

Norwegian Institute of Public Health. (Photo internet reproduction)
Norwegian Institute of Public Health. (Photo internet reproduction)

SCANDINAVIAN EXPERIENCE

This correlates with the data and science that has emerged from around the world. For example, a German study indicated that no healthy children between the ages of 5 and 11 have died from Covid.

Jonas F Ludvigsson, a pediatrician at Örebro University Hospital and professor of clinical epidemiology at Karolinska Institute, showed the same in Sweden during the first wave of 2020.

Norwegian authorities have also explained that, according to a leading Danish newspaper, children may be better protected against future coronavirus variants if they are infected naturally rather than vaccinated. This also correlates with science and is an evidence-based assessment.

 

‘We are following the recommendation of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, and children will be offered free vaccination if their parents or guardians request it,’ states Ms. Kjerkol.

ADOLESCENTS AGED 12-15

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommends that adolescents aged 12–15 be offered a second vaccine dose. However, it is not making a general recommendation to get vaccinated, as the greatest benefit has already been achieved by taking the first dose, and a second dose entails a slightly elevated risk of myocarditis.

At present, our knowledge remains limited about other rare side effects. The vaccine will nonetheless be offered to those who wish to take it, writes the Ministry of Health and Care Services.

‘The Norwegian Government follows the recommendation of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health regarding vaccination of children and adolescents. The vaccines are voluntary, and parents must decide whether they want to vaccinate their children. We also agree with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health that municipalities should be cautious about organizing vaccination at schools, as this may be seen as a strong wish on the part of the authorities for them to get vaccinated and may be felt to be less voluntary,’ says Ms. Kjerkol.

Assessment and recommendation of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Children and adolescents are at very low risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19. The illness rarely results in children being admitted to the hospital, and the average period of hospitalization is one (1) day.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has reason to believe that the vaccine’s effectiveness against symptomatic illness with the Omicron variant is considerably reduced, compared with past virus variants, but that it remains effective in preventing serious illness.

There is limited knowledge about the side effects for the age group 5–11, which calls for caution to be exercised in terms of choosing vaccination.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health, therefore, does not want to make a general recommendation to vaccinate all children but believes that both the first and second doses for children and adolescents may reduce the risk of illness among some children.