Norway opens Covid jabs to 5-11 year-olds
Norway said Friday it would open Covid vaccinations to 5-11 year-olds on a voluntary basis but stopped short of issuing an official recommendation.
In addition, children aged 12 to 15, who have until now been offered a single dose of the vaccine, may now receive a second dose if their parents wish, the health ministry said.
"Children rarely fall severely ill (from Covid) and knowledge about rare side effects and long-term consequences remains limited for now", Health Minister Ingvild Kjerkol said in a statement.
"The benefit (of vaccination) for most children is limited and the (Norwegian) Institute of Public Health has no official recommendation that all children between 5 and 11 should be vaccinated ... but it can be relevant for certain groups", she added.
The offer was addressed in particular to children suffering from chronic illnesses, families where the children are in direct contact with people at risk, or children who will be travelling to countries where the pandemic is raging and access to good healthcare may be difficult.
Almost 90 percent of Norway's adult population has received at least two doses of a Covid vaccine.
Despite a surge in cases due to Omicron -- which has not led to a rise in hospitalisations -- the Norwegian government on Thursday eased some of its Covid curbs.
It notably lifted a ban on the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants, but ordered them to close at 11pm and only welcome seated customers.