Expert: Finland could begin Covid vaccinations of 5-11-year-olds by end of this year

Vaccine specialist Mika Rämet said kids in at-risk groups would likely be first in line to get the jabs.

Image: Ville Viitamäki / Yle

Covid vaccinations of children between the ages of 5 to 11 could begin in Finland by the end of this year at the earliest, according to vaccine specialist Mika Rämet, from the Vaccine Research Centre at the University of Tampere.

The authorisation process for use of the Pfizer-Biontech Covid vaccine is currently underway in the United States, with Rämet estimating the authorisation process by the European Medicines Agency would begin soon.

In September, Pfizer-Biontech released initial results on the effectiveness of the vaccine in younger children. Among other things, studies found that the correct dosage for youngsters aged 5 to 11 was 10 micrograms, or one-third of the dose normally administered to adults.

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Vaccine specialist Mika Rämet, from the Vaccine Research Centre at the University of Tampere Image: Joni Tammela / Yle

"It's known that at that dose level, immune responses form in exactly the same way as in young adults at a dose of 30 micrograms. About 2,500 children aged 5 to 11 took part in the study, there were no serious side effects in the study and the vaccine was tolerated in the same way as in [the kids'] parents," Rämet told Yle.

If the EMA does extend the marketing authorization to the 5 to 11 age group, then the National Advisory Committee on Vaccines (Krar) will evaluate use of the vaccine in that age group in Finland.

Rämet suggested that kids 5 to 11 who were at higher risk from Covid could be the first in line in that age group to get vaccinated.