Romania to launch COVID-19 jabs for children aged 5 to 11

Romanian authorities say children aged between 5-11 will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 starting late January, as the country grapples with a virus surge and low adult vaccination rates

BUCHAREST, Romania -- Children in Romania aged between 5-11 will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 starting late January, authorities said, as the country grappled Friday with a virus surge and low adult vaccination rates.

Parents or legal guardians can schedule appointments starting this week to get their children inoculated with Pfizer jabs that will be available from Jan. 26, the national vaccination committee said Thursday.

Health authorities said 219 pediatric vaccination centers are configured in the national programming platform and shots can also be administered without appointments at dedicated centers, and in some general practitioners' surgeries. The jabs will be administered in 21-day intervals.

Romania, a European Union country of around 19.5 million, has the second-lowest vaccination rate against COVID-19 in the 27-nation bloc, with just 48% of adults fully inoculated, compared to the EU average of 80%. Many other EU countries have already launched vaccination programs for children under 12.

Despite assistance from the bloc's Commission in December to help Romania launch a media campaign to stimulate its vaccination rate, the daily jab uptake has remained low at around 25,000 over the last week.

Since the pandemic began, Romania has confirmed nearly 1.9 million COVID-19 infections, and 59,180 people have died.

———

Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic