Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

Factbox: Countries vaccinating children against COVID-19

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Thomas Lo (15) receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Northwell Health's Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, U.S., May 13, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

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Dec 2 (Reuters) - Countries around the world are expanding COVID-19 vaccination programmes to include young children as infections surge in Europe amid concerns over the new Omicron variant.

But with a huge disparity in the proportion of people vaccinated around the world, the World Health Organisation has urged countries and companies that control global vaccine supplies to prioritize allocations to the COVAX scheme.

The following is a list of some countries that have approved or are considering vaccinating children:

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EUROPEAN UNION

* The European Union-wide rollout of Pfizer (PFE.N) and BioNTech's (22UAy.DE) vaccine for five- to 11-year-olds should begin Dec. 13, one week earlier than planned.

* Italy on Dec. 1 approved vaccinations for children aged 5-11, while France's regulator backed this for high-risk children and those living with vulnerable people. read more

* The Czech Republic has pre-ordered shots for 700,000 children aged 5-11, Czech Radio reported, and Hungary started vaccinating 16- to 18-year-olds in mid-May.

* Germany will likely offer jabs to children under 12 from early 2022, DW reported, after approving shots for teenagers in August. read more

* Estonia, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden and Finland are offering shots to children aged 12 and over.

* Some 63% of Dutch 12- to 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated according to government data dated Nov. 28.

EUROPE (NON-EU)

* Britain's vaccine committee has recommended 12 to 15-year-olds be offered a second dose, after this was previously open only to vulnerable people in the age group.

* Switzerland approved vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds with Pfizer's shot in June, and did the same for Moderna's jab two months later. read more

* Norway started offering one dose of Pfizer/BioNTech to children aged 12-15 in September. read more

* Russia expects to make a new vaccine available for children aged 12-17 in late Dec.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Bahrain has approved the Sinopharm vaccine for children aged 3-11.

* Israel, Oman and Saudi Arabia have approved Pfizer's shot for children as young as five, a shot Bahrain and the UAE have also approved for emergency use in the same age group.

* Jordan, Morocco, Guinea, Namibia and South Africa are vaccinating children aged 12 and over.

* Zimbabwe has made 14-year-olds eligible for COVID-19 shots.

* Egypt said in early November it would begin vaccinating children aged 15-18 using Pfizer.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* China has approved two Sinopharm and one Sinovac vaccine for children as young as three and its Zhejiang province aims to finish vaccinating 3- to 11-year-olds by December. read more

* Hong Kong lowered the age limit for Sinovac's vaccine to three in late November.

* Singapore hopes to extend vaccines to children aged 5-11 from January and Japan by February. Malaysia plans to buy Pfizer's vaccine for this age group.

* Indonesia authorised Sinovac's jab for children over six, while India approved Cadila's (CADI.NS) jab for emergency use in children over 12 - though this has yet to be rolled out.

* South Korea, Australia and the Philippines are vaccinating children 12 and over, with Australia to inoculate younger children starting in January.

* Vietnam began vaccinating teenagers aged 16 and 17, AP reported in late October.

AMERICAS

* Cuba, which is administering vaccines to children as young as two, aims to fully vaccinate 90% of its population by December.

* Venezuela said in early November it is vaccinating children aged 2 to 11 with Cuba's Soberana 2 vaccine. read more

* Argentina is vaccinating children as young as three with Sinopharm's shot while Chile and El Salvador began vaccinating children aged 6-11 in Sept.

* Costa Rica made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for children from age five. read more

* U.S. children aged 5 to 11 were recommended for COVID-19 vaccines on Nov. 2, and as of mid-month nearly 10% of those eligible received their first dose.

* Canada authorized Pfizer's shot for children aged five to 11 on Nov. 19, days after Mexico said it would start vaccinating 15-year-olds. read more

* Brazil's health regulator said in late October its directors received death threats over possibly approving vaccinations for children over five, after it approved Pfizer's shot for 12-year olds in June. read more

* Columbia is offering Pfizer, AstraZenenca, Moderna, Sinopharm and J&J vaccines for those aged 12 and over, while neighbouring Ecuador is inoculating children as young as six with Sinovac's shot.

(Sources: Press releases, government notices and Reuters reporting)

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Compiled by Sarah Morland, Valentine Baldassari, Olivier Cherfan, Juliette Portala, Caleb Davis and Laura Marchioro in Gdansk; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Kirsten Donovan and Bernadette Baum

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