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Variant concerns Professor Luke O'Neill says children under 12 should not be vaccinated for now

The Trinity College Dublin lecturer believes that this age cohort should not be vaccinated until more vaccines are administered in developing countries

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Professor Luke O'Neill

Professor Luke O'Neill

Professor Luke O'Neill

Professor Luke O’Neill has said that Ireland should hold off from vaccinating children under 12 years of age for now.

The Trinity College Dublin lecturer believes that this age cohort should not be vaccinated until more vaccines are administered in developing countries.

It comes amid concerns that the Lambda variant of Covid-19, which originated in Peru, may be resistant to vaccines.

However, Professor O’Neill told The Pat Kenny Show that it is “unlikely” that any variant would render vaccinations completely useless.

He explained: “There’s a remote chance of a nasty variant emerging that’ll break through everything and then we’ll go back to square one.

“That's our last remaining scientific worry, in a way.

“This is why we shouldn't vaccinate the under-12s in my opinion at the moment - give the vaccine away to developing countries to stop variants.

“Our biggest concern is new variants really... to stop it, and it's running rampant in all these countries.

“So just in case a nasty variant crops up we've got to prepare, in a way, for that and try to mitigate against it by getting widespread, global vaccination.”

Professor O’Neill’s comments come following a study that has shown the long-term effects of Covid-19 in children.

258,790 children aged between 5 and 17 who were infected between March 2020 to February 2021 were surveyed to collect information on how this age cohort responds to the virus.

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O’Neill revealed that the average length of symptoms among children was 6 days, with “headaches” and “a bit of fatigue” among the most popular indicators.

He added that a “significant number” of participants, standing at 4.4pc, had “mild symptoms” for 28 days while 1.8pc reported symptoms up to day 56.

Overall, O'Neill attested that the study proves that “prolonged illness is very infrequent in children” and, as a result, children under 12 should remain unvaccinated for the time being.

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