Sweden decides against recommending COVID vaccines for kids aged 5-11

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Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine
A health worker vaccinates an elderly person with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at a temporary vaccination clinic in a church in Sollentuna, north of Stockholm, Sweden March 2, 2021. Fredrik Sandberg/TT News Agency/via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM, Jan 27 (Reuters) – (This Jan. 27 story corrects headline to kids aged 5-11 from 5-12)

Sweden has decided against recommending COVID vaccines for kids aged 5-11, the Health Agency said on Thursday, arguing that the benefits did not outweigh the risks.

“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 told a news conference.

She added that the decision could be revisited if the research changed or if a new variant changed the pandemic. Kids in high-risk groups can already get the vaccine.

Sweden registered more than 40,000 new cases on Jan. 26, one of the highest daily numbers during the pandemic, despite limited testing. While the fourth wave has seen daily infection records shattered, healthcare is not under the same strain as during previous waves.

On Thursday 101 patients with COVID required intensive care, well below the more than 400 patients during spring 2021. In total, nearly 16,000 people have died of COVID in Sweden since the pandemic started.

Sweden’s government on Wednesday extended restrictions, which included limited opening hours for restaurants and an attendance cap for indoor venues, for two weeks but said it hoped to remove them on Feb. 9.

Reporting by Johan Ahlander Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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