South Korean health authorities said on Tuesday that they won't force children aged 12 to 17 to get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying its benefits are not deemed to significantly outweigh its risks for this particular age bracket.
Hong Jeong-ik, a senior official at the state vaccination task force, said in a meeting with reporters ordinary children in general are not classified as a high-risk group so the government does not believe that inoculation is compulsory or that the benefits outweigh the risks for these youths.
Still, Hong noted that children with underlying diseases may face higher risk should they be infected with the virus, and as such this particular group may need to get vaccines.
The remarks came as the government is working on detailed plans for vaccinating the public in the fourth quarter of this year, including those aged 12 to 17. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention(KDCA) decided last month to lower the age threshold for receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine from 18 to 12.
Hong said the government will provide precise data and solid evidence so that the public will be able to make a reasonable judgment on whether or not children aged 12 to 17 should be vaccinated.