Children in MENA countries are increasingly eligible for COVID-19 vaccination

With the success of adult vaccination campaigns, the average age of coronavirus patients is decreasing

The United States Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11 on October 29. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is more than 90% effective in preventing infection in children of this age group, and the benefits of vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.

After Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine gained US approval for young children, a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region and around the world have followed suit.

With the steady increase in successful COVID-19 vaccination campaigns for adults and high-risk populations, the average age of COVID patients is decreasing.

In recent weeks, American children under 18, who are 22.2% of the population, have accounted for more than 25% of new COVID cases. Their over-representation is something new. Since the start of the pandemic, they have accounted for only 16.9% of COVID-19 cases. The reason they are now a higher percentage of COVID patients isn’t just that rates among adults are dropping. Cases among American children have increased 32% from just two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, in Israel, more than 50% of recent new cases involved children 11 years of age or younger.

Therefore, health officials are turning more and more attention to the need to vaccinate younger people.

Bahrain has approved the Sinopharm vaccine for children between the ages of 3 and 11 since October 27. On November 2, it approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

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Cyprus will adopt European Medicines Agency approval, announced today, of COVID-19 vaccinations for children between the ages of 5 and 11. The vaccines are expected to arrive in the country around December 20.

In Iran, a license was issued on 11 November to conduct clinical trials of the locally produced COVIRAN Barekat vaccine in children. In the first phase, 60 volunteers between the ages of 12 and 18 will be vaccinated. If successful, children between the ages of 6 and 12 will also be enrolled in the study.

On November 1, the Iraqi Ministry of Health approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12 and over. The ministry said priority will be given to children in high-risk groups.

Israel this week began vaccinating children ages 5 to 11. In August, it began offering the COVID-19 booster to children ages 12 and older.

Oman approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination for children aged 5 to 12 at the end of October. Immunocompromised children aged 12 and over can now receive a second dose of the vaccine.

Qatar will receive its first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 in January, Dr. Mohammad Janahi announced on Qatar TV on November 17. Janahi is Sidra Medicine’s chief of pediatric infectious diseases and medical director of outpatient clinics. He said children in this age group now account for 63% of COVID-19 transmissions in the country. Qatar offers a booster dose to anyone, regardless of age, who received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least six months ago.

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On November 3, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

In the United Arab Emirates, the Ministry of Health approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as an emergency vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 in late October. The vaccine was approved in an emergency for 12-year-olds in May. In August, following a trial involving 900 children in Abu Dhabi, the Sinopharm vaccine received Ministry of Health approval for children between the ages of 3 and 17.

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for the Middle East and North Africa at 8:20 pm Greenwich Mean Time (UTC ± 0) on Thursday.

Country Confirmed cases Deceased recovered Positive cases
Afghanistan 157.144 7.307 140,435 9,402
Algeria 209.624 6,041 143.771 59.812
Bahrain 277.481 1.394 275,826 261
Cyprus 131,462 591 124.370 6.501
Djibouti 13.504 186 13,291 27
Egypt 353.024 20.109 293.613 39.302
Iran 6,097,672 129,376 5,830,653 137,643
Iraq 2,077,665 23,748 2,038,189 15,728
Israel 1,341,305 8,177 1,327,046 6,082
Jordan 932.539 11,459 874.583 46.497
Kuwait 413.224 2.465 410.520 239
Lebanon 662.269 8,676 627.512 26,081
Libya 370.187 5,425 337.022 27,740
Mauritania 38,881 822 37.135 924
Morocco 949.378 14,770 931.548 3,060
Oman 304.519 4.113 299.951 455
Pakistan 1,283,223 28,690 1,240,995 13,538
Palestinian territories 429.123 4,521 421.829 2,773
Qatar 242.673 611 240.159 1,903
Saudi Arabia 549.618 8,829 538.740 2.049
Somalia 22.969 1.324 11.714 9,931
Sudan 41,959 3.114 32.905 5,940
Syria 47,558 2,719 28,607 16.232
Tunisia 716.702 25.356 690.336 1.010
Turkey 8,676,639 75.840 8.208.159 392.640
United Arab Emirates 741.720 2,145 736.511 3,064
Yemen 9,977 1,943 6,804 1,230
Total 27,092,039 399.751 25.862.224 830.064
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