Saudi Arabia considers vaccinations for children under 12

US health agency says benefits outweigh risk of heart inflammation reported in rare cases involving older age groups

Saudi Arabia's health ministry is looking at vaccinating children under 12 to allow elementary and primary school pupils to return to classrooms.

Ministry spokesman Muhammad Al-Abdel Ali said the kingdom is reviewing how safe the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is when administered to children between the ages of 5 and 11.

A study by the US Food and Drug Administration on trials using smaller doses of the vaccine in younger children showed positive results, Mr Ali said.

The FDA said on Friday that the probable benefits of giving children aged 5 to 11 the Pfizer vaccine clearly outweighed the risk of heart inflammation reported in rare cases among older age groups.

The children in the study were given two shots of a 10-microgram dose – a third of the dosage administered to older people.

The health ministry recently postponed the planned reopening of elementary and primary schools on October 31 "until the completion of scientific studies related to the epidemiological risks of this category so as to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of their families”.

Middle and secondary school pupils who received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been attending school in person since August.

Primary school pupils began their academic year remotely through the “Madrasati” (My School) platform while those in preschool were enrolled through the “Rawdati” (My Kindergarten) platform.

In August, the Interior Ministry made it mandatory for people to be fully inoculated to enter all public places.

The kingdom began to give booster shots to people aged 18 and above last week.

Updated: October 25th 2021, 9:59 AM