The European Parliament voted Wednesday to require all children aged between three and 17 to be vaccinated against a new coronavirus that was linked to a surge in cases in Europe.
In a vote that came after weeks of heated debate on the subject, the Parliament approved a motion to extend the deadline to September 6, the day before the scheduled coronaviral vaccination, or Cervarix, is scheduled to kick in in.
“We are very happy to support the mandate of the European Parliament to extend vaccinations until the end of the year,” said European Health Commissioner Christiane Taubira.
“We have received a lot of criticism from Member States for not doing so, but we have to be realistic about the situation in the EU and the importance of vaccines.”
The new coronivirus has caused at least 1.2 million cases and 4,600 deaths, according to data from the European Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It has also forced at least 2.2 billion doses of the vaccine to be distributed.
The mandate will be enforced through a national vaccination campaign, which will be conducted by the country where the child lives.
The European Union has already vaccinated more than 10 million children in the region since Cervix was introduced in December.
Taubira said that the mandate will not affect vaccination schedules in the countries that already have a Cervax mandate.
The new coronovirus is already circulating in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The Commission will now work with Member States to develop the national vaccine and ensure that the doses are distributed appropriately.
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