Fake News

Fact check: Niti Ayog said ‘no country in the world is giving vaccines to children’. Reports say otherwise.

Written by Vamc Vadranam

On 27th May, 2021, Press Information Bureau (PIB) issued a press release on Niti Ayog’s – ‘Myths & Facts on India’s Vaccination Process’ that talks about various myths and facts surrounding Covid-19 vaccination process. However, the seventh myth and fact in the press release, which claims that no country in the world is giving vaccines to children was found to be false. (See below)

“Myth 7: Centre is not taking any step to vaccinate children”

“Fact: As of now, no country in the world is giving vaccines to children.* Also, WHO has no recommendation on vaccinating children. There have been studies about safety of vaccines in children, which have been encouraging. Trials in children in India are also going to begin soon. However, vaccinating children should not be decided on the basis of panic in Whatsapp groups and because some politicians want to play politics. It has to be a decision taken by our scientists after adequate data is available based on trials.”

Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Finance Minister, supposedly referring to ‘Myth 7’ in Niti Ayog’s press release, shared the  PIB link and said , “As of now, no country in the world is giving vaccines to children. WHO has no recommendation on vaccinating children. Trials on children in India are going to begin soon. The decision is to be taken by scientists after data is available based on trials”.

Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal also shared the same information from his official twitter handle sharing screenshots of Niti Ayog’s press release. Along with Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal, Rajiv Kumar, vice chairman for Niti Ayog has also shared a thread from PIB’s official twitter handle which has the same information. Find it here

FactO Check:

With a relevant keyword search, we have found that many countries like US, Canada, Singapore and United Arab Emirates (UAE) have already approved usage of vaccines to children of age groups 12-15 years.

According to a report published in Reuters on 18 May 2021, The US has vaccinated 600,000 children of age group 12-15 years a week before 18 May, According to Reuters, Algeria has permitted the use of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for the age group of 12-15 years in April, Singapore and UAE have also approved and opens Pfizer Covid vaccine bookings for 12-15 age group as of 18th and 23rd May

On May 5, 2021 Canada allowed the use of Pfizer Inc’s (PFE.N) COVID-19 vaccine for use in children aged 12 to 15. According to CBC News article published on May 27, both Ontario and Quebec are vaccinating children as young as 12, covering all the federally approved age groups

However, the claim by Niti Ayog that “WHO has no recommendation on vaccinating children” is found to be true. WHO, in its website mentioned that “The vaccine has only been tested in children above 16 years of age. Therefore, at this time, WHO does not recommend vaccination of children below 16 years of age, even if they belong to a high-risk group.”

Other than the reports from various websites, many social media users from UAE have shared vaccination cards responding to the claims. Responding to the criticism, Niti Ayog’s Dr VK Paul has later clarified to ANI and said “1-2 countries will start doing that now. WHO hasn’t given any recommendation yet to cover pediatric population in general as any illness in pediatric population is very very mild. If we go with paradigm of deaths as a public health objective, it’s at lower priority”

Nirmala Sitharaman has also quote tweeted Dr VK Paul’s clarification to ANI. Find here

Conclusion: The claim “As of now, no country in the world is giving vaccines to children” made by Niti Ayog, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and Rajiv Kumar is found to be false.

Note: PIB’s press release is now updated to say, “The release mentions that ‘no country in the world is giving vaccines to children’. It should read ‘no country in the world is giving vaccines to children under 12 years.’ The other points made in that section are valid. The inadvertent  typographical omission is regretted.”


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About the author

Vamc Vadranam

Information & Communication Analyst, Business Intelligence Analyst, FactChecker, Coffee Lover, Continuous Learner.

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