Netherlands will allow Covid boosters for 12-17 year olds if EMA approves
Young people aged 12 to 17 will be allowed to receive a Covid-19 booster vaccination, once the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gives its approval. After that, young people and their guardians can make their own determination about whether to get the booster shot, writes health minister Ernst Kuipers in a letter to the Tweede Kamer.
The EMA is likely to issue a decision in early March. At the beginning of February, the Dutch Health Council advised that there are no medical reasons to offer all young people in the age group a booster. In this age group, the direct health benefit of a booster shot is very limited, even for those with serious medical risks.
The Council did recommend that a more personalized approach be possible, so that young people can get a booster jab if they have a serious immune problem or if they have family members with medical issues. Very vulnerable young people are already eligible for a booster vaccination.
If the EMA issues an unqualified opinion, young people "in a broader sense" will be given the opportunity to get a booster shot, if they wish. The minister also points out that a booster is sometimes necessary to travel to another country or to gain access to facilities there. Some countries already make a booster mandatory for a European coronavirus pass.
The GGD has already indicated that it can quickly start administering the boosters if the EMA makes a positive decision for the target group. Kuipers has also asked the RIVM to start preparing the booster vaccinations for those from 12 to 17.
It is estimated that implementation of the program will cost about 6 to 8 million euros if 20 to 25 percent of the target age group shows up. Kuipers says that he will ensure that accessible and understandable information is available with which young people and their parents can make a good decision.
Reporting by ANP.