Belgium could vaccinate 16-17-year-olds during summer holidays

Belgium could vaccinate 16-17-year-olds during summer holidays

People aged 16 and 17 could potentially receive their coronavirus vaccination during the summer holidays, according to a proposal by the Vaccination Task Force.

This scenario is currently being discussed by the task force, which is preparing an opinion on the Covid-19 vaccines for children and adolescents, De Morgen reported on Monday.

"That minors who want to be vaccinated should be able to do so has been obvious for a long time," says Pierre Van Damme of the University of Antwerp, a vaccinologist and member of the Task Force. "In theory, we could already offer the Pfizer vaccine to 16-17-year-olds during the summer holidays.

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If the vaccination campaign goes ahead as planned, people over 18 should already be vaccinated by mid-July. The Pfizer vaccine has already been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for this age group.

After the 16-17-year-olds, there should be plans to vaccinate younger adolescents. Pfizer has just submitted clinical trial results to the EMA showing that the vaccine is effective for the 12-15 age group. If the agency gives its approval, then younger children could also benefit from the vaccine from September.

The other producers of coronavirus vaccines, Johnson Johnson, AstraZeneca and Moderna, also have clinical trials underway for children.

While the decision may be a political one, scientific experts have said they support the idea. "Otherwise, no less than 2 million people are not vaccinated and this makes it more difficult to achieve the herd immunity of 70-80% of vaccinated people," says Van Damme.

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