De Jonge hopes children over 12 can be vaccinated before the autumn
Health minister Hugo de Jonge hopes all children over the age of 12 can be offered a coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible to prevent a new wave of infections in the autumn.
De Jonge said vaccinating children would help to ensure society is ‘as well protected as possible’ against the virus, particularly the spread of infections in the classroom when schools return at the end of August.
The European Medicines Agency approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 at the end of May, but so far the Dutch health council has only authorised its use for teenagers who are at high risk because of underlying health conditions.
Other European countries, including France, have already made the vaccine available to all children over 12 on a voluntary basis.
De Jonge said he would wait for the Gezondheidsraad to issue a general recommendation, meaning most over-12s will not receive their first jab until mid-August at the earliest.
A spokesman for the health council said: ‘We are conscious of the speed of the vaccination campaign, but at the same time we need to weigh up the risks and benefits carefully.’
On Thursday morning people born in 1999 were invited to book their appointment for a first coronavirus vaccine, while those born between 2000 and 2003 are expected to be added to the list by the end of the week. De Jonge had earlier pledged that all adults would be able to get their first shot by July 1.
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