Health Council: Pfizer vaccine for all 12 to 17 year olds who want it | Inland

All children aged 12 to 17 who wish to receive a corona vaccine from BioNTech/Pfizer. This is stated by the Health Council in a recommendation to the cabinet. According to the council, vaccination can provide children with direct and indirect health benefits. The expectation is that Health Minister Hugo de Jonge will quickly adopt the advice.

Vaccination of this group of teenagers can help slow down the corona epidemic, the Health Council writes ‘after an extensive ethical and legal consideration’. Young people who want that should get two shots of the Pfizer vaccine, says Health Council chairman Bart-Jan Kullberg.

The positive advice from the council comes after RIVM boss Jaap van Dissel and minister De Jonge have already spoken out in favor of vaccinating 12 to 17-year-olds. The Dutch Association for Pediatrics also thinks vaccinating these teenagers is a good idea, partly because of the emergence of the more contagious delta variant. The Health Council previously issued a positive advice on vaccinating vulnerable young people in that age category.

In the Netherlands, young people from the age of 16 can decide for themselves whether they want to be vaccinated. Teenagers aged 12 to 15 should in principle consult with their parents, but ultimately the child’s point of view is legally decisive. The Health Council states that a ‘voluntary and well-informed choice’ requires accessible, understandable and age-appropriate information about the advantages and disadvantages of corona vaccination.

health complaints

Covid-19 is usually mild in children and young people. However, it can also cause health problems for them, according to the Health Council. ‘In rare cases, for example, it can lead to ‘MIS-C’, a severe inflammatory reaction that requires hospitalization or intensive care. Just like adults, children and adolescents can also develop long-term complaints (lung Covid).’ Since the beginning of last year, about a hundred 12 to 17-year-olds have ended up in hospital after they got corona. Half of them had no underlying complaints. According to the Health Council, two 12 to 17-year-olds have died from the effects of the virus.

Minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Health, Welfare and Sport). © ANP

The Council also points to the indirect health benefits of vaccination. For example, a vaccination campaign among teenagers would ensure that the virus circulates less among them, so that there is less chance of restrictive measures in schools, for example.

Vaccinating the older children also contributes to curbing a possible revival of the coronavirus next winter, the advice states. According to the Health Council, this will also reduce the burden of disease among adults.

Health Council chairman Kullberg does not want to put percentages on the extent to which these three factors – direct health complaints, hindrance due to restrictive measures and the contribution to group immunity – have been taken into account in the advice. “It is the sum of these interests.”

Side effects

The authors of the advice acknowledge that there are also drawbacks to vaccinating teens, namely the risk of side effects. Most of these are moderate and disappear after a few days, according to the Health Council. There have been reports of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium) after vaccination. But according to the Health Council, the course of this is usually mild, and it is still unclear whether the occurrence of these inflammations is the result of the Pfizer vaccine. This is being investigated by the European Medicines Authority EMA. Myocarditis and pericarditis also occur with an infection with the coronavirus itself, the council writes.

Minister in favor

Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge is therefore in favor of pricking teenagers. “From an epidemiological point of view, I say: do it anyway,” he replied to questions from this news site last week. “It is an indispensable contribution to controlling the epidemic in the autumn. From a social point of view I also say: absolutely do it. So many young people have already missed education.”

But De Jonge also wants to take all ‘medical-ethical’ aspects into account, including through the advice of the Health Council. The decision to make vaccinations possible for 12 to 17-year-olds can be taken by the Minister of Health himself, a government spokesperson reported.

Vaccinating young people is politically controversial: the House of Representatives will vote this afternoon on a motion by PVV and Denk to block a vaccination campaign for teenagers, but it does not seem to get a majority.

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Health Council: Pfizer vaccine for all 12 to 17 year olds who want it | Inland
Source link Health Council: Pfizer vaccine for all 12 to 17 year olds who want it | Inland

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