This was before a WHO expert group deemed the Pfizer vaccine safe for children under 16. It took a few days for their website to reflect the change.
WASHINGTON – Verify is to bring you information from reliable sources; so when our researchers saw a wave of tweets and articles claiming that the World Health Organization has said that children should not be given the COVID vaccine, we have taken note.
In mid-June, a screenshot of what appeared to be the WHO website started appearing online and was shared by hundreds of people. We read this statement in bold:
“Children should not be vaccinated at this time. There is not yet enough evidence on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in children to make recommendations for children to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Children and adolescents tend to have less severe illness than adults. However, children should continue to receive the vaccines recommended for children. “
Has the World Health Organization really advised children against getting vaccinated against COVID-19?
- spokesperson for the World Health Organization
- Internet Archive WayBack Machine – June 21st
Yes, but more context is needed. That was before vaccines were deemed safe for children, and it took a few more days for the WHO website to reflect the change.
WHAT WE FOUND
Using the Internet Archive, our Verify researchers were able to verify that yes, the WHO advised this quote: “Children should not be vaccinated at this time. “
But this is not the complete picture; a spokesperson for the World Health Organization gave us the background.
They said they included this statement because it was not until June 15 that a WHO committee, called the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), determined that the Pfizer vaccine could be used in children under 16 years of age.
“Now some children – those at high risk of severe COVID-19 – would be recommended for COVID-19 vaccination, although this is currently only possible with the Pfizer vaccine in over 12 years’ time, so the statement has been withdrawn, “a WHO spokesperson said via email.
According to the Internet Archive and the WHO, it took a few days for the page to be updated with this recommendation.
As of June 30, 2021, their website includes this note in the upper right corner: “English version last updated on June 22, 2021 to reflect SAGE’s interim recommendations of June 15, 2021 on the Pfizer / BionTech COVID-19 vaccine. “
However, the WHO still maintains that in general, children remain at low risk of severe COVID.
“The paramount point remains that healthy children are not a priority group for immunization when supplies are limited and should go to those most at risk to keep hospitalizations and the incidence of serious illness as low as possible,” a WHO spokesperson said.
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On May 14, four days after the US FDA cleared the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use in 12-15 year olds, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus appealed to the wealthiest countries .
“I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents, but for now, I urge them to reconsider their decision and instead donate vaccines to COVAX,” he added. he said. “Because in low- and lower-middle-income countries, the vaccine supply has not even been sufficient to immunize even health workers and caregivers, and hospitals are inundated with people who need urgent life-saving care ”.
The WHO director general continues to maintain that those most exposed to the virus should have priority access to vaccines.
“Global failure to equitably share vaccines is fueling a two-track pandemic that is now wreaking havoc among the world’s poorest and most vulnerable,” Ghebreyesus said in a video he tweeted June 18.
So we can verify, yes, the World Health Organization said that children should refrain from getting vaccinated. However, that was before he deemed vaccines safe for children, and it took a few more days for his website to reflect the change.
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