COVID-19 vaccinations for young children now expected to start later this month
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) have launched a $300 million campaign to vaccinate children against the coronavirus.
The campaign – launched on Thursday – aims to vaccinate around 1.5 million children in the next three months, with the funds being split between Dfid and WHO.
The UN agency said 1.5 million is equal to the total number of children worldwide who were vaccinated as part of a global vaccination programme against polio in 2015.
“This campaign is an opportunity to create a world of health and wellbeing for our children for the next three months,” WHO said.
“Health is a fundamental human right and we urge all countries that offer a vaccination programme for young children to do so as soon as possible.”
The UK Department for International Development said “the UK remains an active global partner in supporting the efforts of the World Health Organization to help contain the spread of the #coronavirus”.
Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) said on Friday it has “launched an unprecedented €100 million fund to support children affected by the coronavirus”.
The €100 million will be matched by the EU and the EU commission, the EU’s executive body, and will go to the WHO, national governments and non-governmental organisations to support children affected by the coronavirus.
The EU also announced an additional €100 million to support the world’s most vulnerable children. This is equal to the total amount the EU has spent in support of children affected by the Ebola virus since 2014.
The commission is responsible for managing the fund.
Speaking of the virus, WHO has said there is no specific therapy, vaccine or other medicine that treats or reverses it. But it also warns that the risks it poses to people is higher than the risks COVID-19 poses to animals.
“The risk of COVID-19 to people is not lower than the risk of the disease caused by other coronaviruses, the most important of which being MERS,” Professor Christopher Wild said in a statement about MERS.