Ecuador becomes first country to mandate Covid vaccines for children from age of 5
Ecuador has become the first country to make Covid vaccines mandatory for children as young as five years. "In Ecuador, vaccination against Covid-19 is declared compulsory," the health ministry said in a statement. This comes in amid growing fears of the Omicron variant.
While speaking to AFP, the ministry said, "Compulsory vaccination applies to persons five years and older."
The South American country has a population of 17.7 million people, out of which, 69 per cent of people have received two doses. Over 900,000 people have received the booster dose.
As per the ministry, people only with medical reasons will be exempted from getting the vaccine. The South American country has so far registered nearly 540,000 cases, with 33,600 fatalities.
The country recorded its first Omicron case a week ago. Since then, the country has made it mandatory for its citizens to get vaccinated to travel to public places, including restaurants, cinemas, shopping malls, and theatres.
Meanwhile, several European countries have started the inoculation drive against coronavirus for children. Authorities in Belgium and France have announced that children aged 5-11 are now eligible for voluntary Covid vaccination in both countries.
“We have observed that 80 per cent of children with severe forms had no comorbidities,” said the French National Authority for Health (HAS).
Vaccinating children “could diminish the virus’s circulation in schools and reduce the risk of classroom closures,” it added.