RFI:- A host of European countries on Wednesday began their Covid-19 vaccination campaigns for children aged 5-11 amid warnings the Omicron variant could be dominant on the continent by mid-January.
Germany, Spain, Greece and Hungary were among those opening up vaccines for younger kids, with doctors reporting strong initial demand from parents.
The European Medicines Agency approved the Pfizer-BioNTech shot for children over five last month as infection rates in Europe increasingly target the younger age group.
While the dosage is half of that given to an adult, reports say children developed antibody levels just as strong as those who receive the full-strength jabs.
In Greece, which has registered more than 30,000 vaccine appointments for kids, Education Minister Niki Kerameus had her young son vaccinated at a hospital in Athens early Wednesday, state media reported.
Denmark and some Austrian regions had already began offering jabs to younger kids in November, following in the footsteps of the United States.
France is waiting for the green light from local health authorities before opening up vaccination to kids, probably in January, however vulnerable children may be vaccinated now.
Prime Minister Jean Castex on the weekend said vaccinating children aged 5-11 was “a necessity” because they had become the “biggest virus transmitters”.
“I am a living example,” he told France Bleu television. “My 11-year-old daughter gave me the virus a few weeks ago.”
More than 63,400 cases have been reported in France in the 24 hours to Tuesday – a record since April. More than 2,790 patients are in intensive care.
French people aged 65 years and over must now have received a booster dose of the vaccine in order to retain their health pass allowing them to eat in restaurants and access public venues.