The Health Council advises children aged 12 to 17 from medical risk groups to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine is sufficiently effective and safe for use from the age of 12 and it provides direct and indirect health benefits to children at medical risk. The council writes this in emergency advice that was presented today to the Minister of Health, Welfare, and Sport. Advice on vaccinating healthy children will follow.
The BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine has recently been approved for use from the age of 12. At the request of the Minister of Health, Welfare, and Sport, the Health Council has considered the desirability of vaccinating children from the age of 12. The council first advises on children with medical risks. Advice on vaccination of healthy children – which requires separate consideration – will follow later. The Health Council previously recommended vaccinating children aged 16 and 17 with a high medical risk.
Based on the available data, the Health Council concludes that the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine is sufficiently effective and sufficiently safe for use in children from 12 years of age. The Council considers that vaccination is desirable specifically for children with medical risk. Children with a chronic condition have an increased risk of a severe course of COVID-19 compared to healthy children. Also, some of them are still limited in their daily lives, for fear of the consequences of an infection. Vaccination provides these children with both direct and indirect health benefits.
The Council, therefore, recommends vaccinating children aged 12 to 17 from medical risk groups with the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. To protect children from the age of 12 from risk groups who cannot be vaccinated themselves for medical reasons, the Health Council recommends so-called ring vaccination. This means that all housemates from the age of 12 are vaccinated.