Several European nations kicks off vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 against Covid-19 on Wednesday in an effort to contain a raging pandemic and keep schools open, while others are still deciding their approach.

Germany, Spain, Greece and Hungary are among those opening up their inoculation drives to younger kids, with doctors reporting strong initial demand from parents.

The EU’s medicines watchdog last month approved the Pfizer-BioNTech shot for five to 11-year-olds, an age group experiencing high coronavirus infection rates across the continent.

The vaccine is administered in a lower dosage than the Pfizer jab for over-12s and comes in a paediatric vial with an orange cap to distinguish it from the purple-capped vials for older ages.

Denmark, which has seen a surge in cases attributed to the highly contagious new Omicron variant, and some Austrian regions already began offering jabs to younger kids in November.

The United States was the first large country to take the plunge and has so far vaccinated more than five million children aged five to 11.

Describing the kids’ immunisation impact a Berlin-based doctor and spokesman for Germany’s association of paediatricians Jakob Maske said that Five to 11-year-olds only makeup around three per cent of the German population.

Germany’s STIKO vaccine commission has officially only recommended the jab for children with pre-existing conditions, but even healthy children will be inoculated if the parents request it.

Some German cities plan to administer kids’ jabs in museums and zoos, while others are mulling mobile vaccination teams outside schools.

The head of Germany’s teaching union, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, said a high take-up “would significantly increase the chance of keeping schools open as long as possible”.

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