Vaccinatie in arm
Image: ©Gezondheidsraad

COVID-19 vaccination for young children belonging to clinical risk groups

A proportion of children 5 to 11 years of age are at increased risk of developing severe COVID-19. This concerns children with chronic lung conditions, congenital heart conditions and Down syndrome. They have both a higher risk of hospitalisation due to COVID-19 and a higher risk of MIS-C, a serious condition where different body parts can become inflamed following SARS-CoV-2 infection. The Health Council recommends, therefore, that these children be vaccinated against COVID-19. Since practically all of these children are under the care of a paediatrician, due to their health condition, the Council recommends that paediatricians select these children.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recently recommended approval of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 for use in children aged 5 to 11 years. The vaccine dose will be lower than that used in people aged 12 and above (10 micrograms per dose). This vaccine is effective and is also sufficiently safe for use in children aged 5 to 11 years. The first doses of this vaccine for children are expected to arrive in the course of December. The Council's advice is to use these doses for this particular group of children.

In the near future, the Health Council will assess the issue of making the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine available to children aged 5-11 who do not belong to clinical risk groups.