Dutch health council recommends vaccinating teenagers against Covid
The Dutch health council Gezondheidsraad has recommended vaccinating children aged 12 to 17 against coronavirus using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
The council earlier recommended vaccinating teenagers with health issues, and now says that including all teenagers in the programme would be both useful and responsible.
Health minister Hugo de Jonge, the government’s Outbreak Management Team and the Dutch paediatricians’ association have also said 12 to 17 year olds can be safely vaccinated. De Jonge had asked the council to look at the ethical and legal aspects of vaccinating teens in particular.
‘Covid-19 infections in children and adolescents are usually mild but can cause them problems,’ the health council said. ‘In rare cases, for example, it can lead to MIS-C, a serious inflammatory response which requires admission to hospital or intensive care.’
In addition, vaccination will have an indirect effect in that school closures and class quarantine will be less likely, the council said. ‘It will also contribute to halting a possible flare up in the winter and reduce the impact on adults.’
While some potential side effects have been reported, these are generally mild and are currently being looked at by the European Medicines Agency, the council said.
‘To ensure that adolescents can make a voluntary and well-informed choice, it is important that accessible, understandable and age-appropriate information is available about the advantages and disadvantages of vaccination against COVID-19,’ the health council said.
De Jonge will give his final position on the issue on Wednesday and outline how the vaccination programme will work.
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