Children are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in an increasing number of countries. However, only a small number of countries have reached agreements for pediatric doses and deliveries are still small-scale.
94 countries have approved one or more vaccines for children above the age of 12 years, 53 countries approved vaccines for children between three and 12 years, and only seven countries approved vaccines for children below the age of three.
But children and adolescents have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, despite their lower risk of severe COVID-19 disease.
Even though the greatest burden of COVID-19 in terms of severe disease and deaths remains among older persons, healthcare workers, and those with comorbidities and other risk groups, an increasing number of COVID-19 vaccines are now being authorized for children of different age groups and some countries have started to administer COVID-19 vaccines to children.
Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine has seen the majority of authorizations for children (in one or multiple age categories) with approvals in 85 countries, followed by Moderna’s vaccine which has been approved in 41 countries.
So far, there have been 22 vaccine agreements which are partially or entirely for pediatric doses, although data may be limited due to little visibility of exact agreement terms.
Of these 22 agreements reached by 14 countries, three were made with Moderna and the remaining 19 with Pfizer/BioNTech.
To date, 43.7 million pediatric doses have been delivered to 13 countries (although the actual number is likely to be higher due to limited visibility in news reports and reporting time lags).
In addition to the many socio-economic impacts, routine childhood immunization has seen large disruptions globally which – given the time-sensitive nature of childhood vaccinations – threaten to jeopardize previous gains made by decades of immunization services.