Dutch Health Council approves Pfizer Covid vaccine for medically vulnerable adolescents

AMSTERDAM - The Dutch Health Council gave a positive recommendation for prodecting children aged 12 to 17 with a medical risk against Covid-19 using the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. The advisory board said it would later consider whether teenagers who do not fall within a group at high risk for serious Covid-19 symptoms should also be vaccinated.

The young people who should be eligible for a Covid-19 vaccination are those who are regularly invited for a flu shot, as well as those suffering from obesity. In "exceptional cases" it should also be possible for teenagers who do not necessarily fall within these groups, the Council indicated.

"The BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine is sufficiently effective and safe for use from the age of 12 and it provides direct and indirect health benefits to children at medical risk," the Council said in emergency advice submitted to the Ministry of Health on Wednesday. Caretaker Health Minister Hugo de Jonge requested the advice after a study showed that the Pfizer vaccine can be used safely in people in that age group.

Because children at medical risk are more likely to develop more severe forms of the coronavirus disease, it is wise to use the vaccine with them first, the advisory body said. "Children with a chronic condition have an increased risk of a serious course of Covid-19 compared to healthy children. Some of them are also still limited in their daily lives for fear of the consequences of infection," the Dutch Health Council stated.

The caretaker Cabinet still has to decide whether it will follow the recent advice and include this population group in the vaccination campaign.

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