ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s health authorities have finalised a decision to vaccinate children aged 12 to 14 with congenital disorders and all children aged 15 to 19 with the Pfizer-BionTech COVID-19 jab, an official said.
The decision was reached at a COVID-19 task force meeting chaired by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Friday (17) morning, State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Channa Jayasumana told reporters.
“There were no recommendation to vaccinate children below 15 years of age without any comorbidities or congenital disorders yet, but it will be taken into consideration in the future,” he said.
The State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) has already placed orders for Pfizer-BionTech shots needed for this purpose and rollout is expected to begin within a week, the minister said.
According to the Sri Lanka College of Pediatricians (SLCP), compared to adults, the number of cases and the proportion of severe COVID-19 disease among children are significantly low. In most instances, the proportion of childhood cases are approximately 10% or less of all COVID-19 positive patients.
However, with the acute surge of the total number of cases, the number of reported cases among children has risen.
Therefore, a high possibility of children with severe disease is expected along with the increased number of cases.
SLCP proposed a priority list to the health authorities for vaccinating children last week.
According to the SLCP, there are around 30,000 children with comorbidities currently receiving treatments.
Children with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness than children without underlying medical conditions.
The statement said children with the following conditions should be prioritsed:
• Complex medical conditions with genetic, neurologic, or metabolic in origin
• Haemodynamically significant congenital heart diseases
• Chronic lung diseases
• Immunocompromised children (Primary immune deficiencies, solid-organ/bone marrow transplant recipients on immunosuppressive therapy, cancer patients undergoing treatment)
• Those on long-term immunosuppressants/corticosteroids for any cause
• HIV-infected children
• Obese children
• Children with diabetes mellitus
• Significant chronic ill health due to any other organ involvement, including chronic kidney or liver failure