Netherlands to start giving Covid vaccines to young children in January
Parents will soon be able to get their children between the ages of 5 and 11 vaccinated against Covid-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. They will be invited to get vaccinated starting in the second half of January, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced on Friday.
De Jonge will follow the advice issued by the Dutch Health Council. It sent a letter earlier on Friday advising the ministry to offer the Covid-19 jabs to young children. The Council also noted that there should be no form of pressure or coercion exerted to encourage vaccination, such as exclusion from education.
"The interests of the children are paramount, parents of course have the choice whether or not to do it", said De Jonge, who emphasized that it is "a sensible thing to do." Although most children experience a very mild infection when they acquire the coronavirus, if they notice it at all, a "small proportion develop more serious complaints, sometimes even with hospitalization. And a very small group develop a serious inflammatory reaction," according to the minister.
Apart from the direct health gain, there are also other benefits, predicted De Jonge. "You can prevent children from being affected by school closures or other restrictive measures."
Anyone in the age group who gets vaccinated against the disease will receive the vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech in a lower dose than what is given to people aged 12 and older. Children aged 5 to 11 who have an increased medical risk were already given approval for the vaccination earlier this week.
Reporting by ANP