Parliament wants to start vaccinating children 12-15 with chronic illnesses; De Jonge not ready
A majority in parliament wants the government to start vaccinating children between the ages of 12 and 16 with chronic illnesses against Covid-19. These kids' medical conditions put them at high risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19, which means that many of them have been trapped at home for a very long time. Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health wants to wait for advice from the Health Council before starting, RTL Nieuws reports.
Last week the European Medicines Agency ruled that the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech was suitable and safe to use on teenagers from 12 years old. The European Commission then approved the use of this vaccine on teenagers. A parliamentary majority of VVD, D66, CDA and GroenLinks consider this good enough to start vaccinating children in this age group with chronic illnesses.
De Jonge acknowledged the urgency of young people in this group. "Soon the new advice from the Health Council will also come, and then we can act very quickly. I think we can all agree on the urgency of the target group. Strongly agree. I only attach importance to a good order of things," the caretaker Health Minister said.
GroenLinks MP Lisa Westerveld does not understand why the Minister is waiting. "I think this is a very formal approach to a very concrete problem that these families have been dealing with for a long time. I do not understand why the Minister does not say: I completely agree with you, we are going to ensure that these children with a very high risk is given priority. That is possible, because it does not involve so many children."
The Health Council advice on vaccinating teenagers at medical risk of Covid-19 is expected in mid-June. According to De Jonge, "very distressing cases can already contact their doctor". "But I want to wait for an 'objectified definition' of exactly what group of children this involves," he said.