Dutch Health Min. "in favor" of vaccinating young people against Covid
The ruling Cabinet of the Netherlands has not yet come to a decision about vaccinating people younger than 18 years of age against Covid-19 as it waits for more research and policy briefings on the matter. "We are waiting for the advice, but I myself am in favor of doing it," said Health Minister Hugo de Jonge during a press conference on Friday.
"There is more and more to be said about vaccinating more teenagers. Young people do not suffer as much from the virus, but they do suffer from the measures. Our young people have already experienced too many school lessons via a computer screen," he stated.
People between the ages of 12 and 17 are allowed to be inoculated against Covid-19 with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine if they are in certain medical risk categories. The vaccine is the only one authorized for use in Europe for people under 18 years of age.
"The Health Council is considering all aspects of vaccinations for young people," De Jonge said. For now, most of the available time slots at mass vaccination centers are needed to get protect adults from the disease, he continued.
"But again, I am in favor of having young people vaccinated as well."
The event was organized so that Prime Minister Mark Rutte and De Jonge could announce that most of the country's coronavirus restrictions would disappear starting on June 26. The primary rule that will remain relates to giving people enough space to maintain a safe distance of 1.5 meters from each other. Absent of that space, people may be asked to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have recently tested negative for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, and otherwise the use of face masks may be needed.
"There are still uncertainties. That is why we are continuing to look at vaccinating young people, for example," Rutte said.
The two expressed concern for those who cannot or will not get vaccinated, those whose immune systems are not triggered by the vaccine, and how well the vaccine protects people from spreading the viral infection to one another. It was also focused on emerging coronavirus variants, like the rapidly spreading delta variant which originated in India.
They also said that there will be further outreach into neighborhoods where the vaccination rate is believed to be low. "The delta variant is probably going to take over, then you want to be as far as possible with vaccinations," De Jonge stated.