Faster Covid boosters may affect child vaccine schedule
If millions of people have to receive a Covid-19 booster shot in the upcoming weeks, it could have a "limited impact" on the first jabs for young children, the Ministry of Health said. Children between the ages of 5 and 11 who have certain medical conditions will begin getting injections in the coming week. Then in January, young children without medical conditions will be eligible for vaccination.
Both adults and children have to go to the vaccination locations organized by the GGD branches to get their shots, but the doses for children younger than 12 is smaller than for everyone else. Adults and older children receive a vaccine dose three times larger than what is given to young children.
It has not yet been worked out how younger children will get vaccinated at the same sites as people older than them. The potential consequences will then become clearer.
About 12.5 million adults in the Netherlands have had at least one shot of any Covid vaccine, and 1.36 million of them have already had a booster shot. That means that more than 11 million adults can still get a booster jab. The government wants all of them to have had the chance to do so before the end of January, roughly six weeks from now. To achieve that, vaccination must be organized much faster than at the peak of the initial vaccination process last summer.
Next Monday, vaccinations will begin for children aged 5 to 11 who have medical conditions like severe asthma, a congenital heart defect or Down syndrome. This is estimated to be about 40,000 children. If they contract the coronavirus, they may be at greater risk than their peers.
There are another 1.2 million children without a medical condition that puts them at severe risk of Covid-19. They can get their turn during the second half of January, if their parents allow it.
Reporting by ANP