Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 15 with an underlying condition will now also be able to get vaccinated against the coronavirus in Belgium, announced Flemish Health Minister Wouter Beke.
The issue was discussed at the Interministerial Health Conference (IMC) on Wednesday morning.
"The IMC is now also giving the go-ahead for vaccination of 12- to 15-year-olds with underlying conditions with the Pfizer vaccine," Beke said on Twitter.
De #IMC zet nu ook het licht op groen voor de #vaccinatie met het Pfizer-vaccin van jongeren van 12 tot en met 15 jaar met onderliggende aandoeningen. De vaccinaties van deze beperkte groep (enkele 1000'en) zullen aansluiten op deze van de 16-17jarige risicopatiënten.— Wouter Beke (@wbeke) June 23, 2021
It concerns a limited group of "a few thousand" teenagers, who will get their turn immediately after the 16-17-year-olds at an increased risk, according to him.
"This decision was made based on a recent opinion of the Superior Health Council and the Vaccination Taskforce," Beke said, adding that the Taskforce also worked out the operational aspects with representatives of doctors and paediatricians.
An "important" part of the decision is that only doctors will be able to determine whether a young person is eligible for a vaccine, based on their medical file. "The vaccination itself will take place in a vaccination centre," he said.
So far, Pfizer/BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine is the only one that has been approved for use by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for this age group.
Whether or not Belgium will also vaccinate the other 12- to 15-year-olds, meaning those without underlying conditions, has not been decided yet, as the IMC is awaiting additional scientific and ethical analyses. A recommendation from the Superior Health Council is expected by the end of June.