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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday said healthy children and teens should be considered low priority for COVID-19 vaccines and may not need the shots.

In a meeting last week, the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) laid out a new recommended roadmap for COVID-19 vaccination to reflect existing high-level immunity from previous infection and vaccination across the global population, the group said.

The new recommendations divide populations into high, medium and low priority for vaccination based on risk factors associated with contracting COVID-19, “vaccine performance, cost-effectiveness, programmatic factors and community acceptance.”

The advisory group said healthy children and adolescents ages 6 months to 17 years have “low disease burden” and are therefore low priority for vaccination. It recommends countries “consider their specific context in deciding whether to continue vaccinating low risk groups, like healthy children and adolescents.”

“The public health impact of vaccinating healthy children and adolescents is comparatively much lower than the established benefits of traditional essential vaccines for children,” the group said.

For the medium priority group, including healthy adults under age 60 without comorbidities and children and adolescents with comorbidities, SAGE recommends a primary series of vaccination and one booster.

It does not recommend additional boosters for this group “given the comparatively low public health returns” of the boosters.

SAGE said older adults, immunocompromised people, young adults with serious comorbidities, frontline workers and “pregnant persons” are high priority for a primary series of vaccination and one booster.

Will CDC follow new WHO recommendations for kids?

The WHO’s recommendations come less than two months after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added the two-shot primary series mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to its routine immunization schedule for children and adults, formalizing the CDC’s own vaccine advisory committee’s unanimous recommendation made in October 2022.

The CDC’s schedule is the basis for vaccine recommendations made by most physicians across the U.S.

Brian Hooker, Ph.D., P.E., Children’s Health Defense (CHD) chief scientific officer and associate professor of biology at Simpson University, told The Defender the WHO’s new recommendations reflect poorly on the CDC.

Hooker said:

“It is extremely telling when the World Health Organization backs away from recommending COVID-19 vaccines for infants and children, putting them in the lower priority group, yet the CDC has already incorporated these very dangerous and unnecessary shots into the U.S. infant/child vaccination schedule.

“For the CDC, money and power win over public health consistently and the children in the U.S. will suffer accordingly.”

Physicians and vaccine experts, including members of the CDC’s own vaccine advisory committee, have repeatedly questioned the safety and efficacy of vaccines and boosters for children and adolescents, especially given evidence of significant adverse reactions.

When the vaccine advisory committee made its recommendations for the childhood vaccine schedule, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., CHD founder, chairman and chief litigation counsel, called the recommendations reckless:

The WHO’s new recommendations come as some countries, including Sweden, have stopped recommending COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, finding the benefits do not outweigh the risks of vaccination.

Neither Finland nor Norway recommend vaccination for healthy children ages 5 to 11.

Several other countries, such as Denmark and the U.K., ended mass-scale COVID-19 vaccination and related public health initiatives. The U.K. in February stopped offering boosters to healthy people under age 50.

States and school districts across the U.S., including California and Louisiana, that planned to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for schoolchildren have rescinded those mandates in recent months.

The CDC reported as of March 1, 12% of children ages 6 months to 4 years old had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Thirty-two percent of children ages 5 to 11 had received two doses of the vaccine, and 58% of 12- to 17-year-olds had received two doses of the vaccine.

The CDC did not respond to The Defender’s inquiry as to whether the WHO’s changing recommendations would affect the childhood vaccination schedule.