Finland to limit children's COVID-19 vaccines to high-risk households

A medical worker holds a syringe with the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at the Helsinki University Hospital in Helsinki

By Essi Lehto

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Children in Finland aged five and over should be vaccinated against COVID-19 if they or someone in their household are at high risk of severe infection, the Finnish Health Institute recommended on Thursday, opting against shots for all children.

The government is expected to accept the recommendation. The institute said the vaccinations could start as soon as Finland obtains approved shots.

"Getting more information about the safety of the vaccines is even more important if society wants to influence the course of the pandemic by vaccinating children," Chief Physician Hanna Nohynek from the health institute said in a statement.

She added children rarely become severely ill and would only slightly benefit from the vaccine, while vaccinating children would only postpone the hospitalisations of unvaccinated adults.

The institute also recommended booster shots for all vaccinated Finns 5-6 months after their second shot.

(Reporting by Essi Lehto; Editing by Peter Graff)