Booster shots not necessary for teens: Health Council
The Health Council considers it unnecessary to offer all teenagers aged 12 to 17 a booster shot against Covid-19. A booster vaccination provides only "minimal health benefits" for this age group, according to the Health Council.
The Council also believes that an additional vaccination for adolescents will have "no significant effect" on the spread of the coronavirus among the population. While, in rare cases, the vaccination can lead to inflammation of the heart muscle or the pericardium. Also, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has not yet said anything about the benefits and risks of a booster shot for people under the age of 18.
The Council's advice also applies to teenagers with an increased risk of severe illness after a coronavirus infection. For example, people who are usually also invited for the flu shot and people with Down's syndrome.
The Health Council recommended "customization" for teenagers with a severe immune disorder. People age 12 and older with such a disorder, for whom two vaccine doses may not offer sufficient protection, were already able to get a third shot. "The re-eligibility of these adolescents and their relatives for additional vaccine doses will have to be assessed by their pediatricians," the Council said. Young people who want a booster shot to protect a vulnerable family member should also be able to receive an extra vaccination.
Some teenagers also want a booster shot because it is a requirement to travel without regular Covid-19 testing. It is not up to the Council to decide whether an extra would be available to this group, it said.
Former Health Minister Hugo de Jonge asked the Health Council for advice on booster shots for teenagers at the end of December. The vaccines the EMA so far approved for booster shots have only been approved for adults. De Jonge, therefore, also asked the Health Council whether the booster campaign for teens should start without approval.
Reporting by ANP.