By vaccinating children between the ages of 12 and 18, the corona virus will be easier to control this winter, the RIVM has calculated. Models show what effect the vaccination of that group has on the R-number from September, according to the documents discussed at the Catshuis last week and released after last night’s press conference.
“If all goes well, the reproduction number could be just below 1”, RIVM modeller Jacco Wallinga told NOS, looking ahead to next winter. He assumes the situation that only adults are vaccinated. If children from the age of 12 are also vaccinated, the R-number at the peak is probably around 0.85 according to the RIVM models.
Much also depends on the vaccination coverage. If not 65 percent but 75 percent of the population over 12 is vaccinated, then the R-number may not even exceed 0.7. The R number indicates how many other people an infected person infects on average. If it stays below 1, the total number of infections will shrink.
There are some ifs and buts to the RIVM models. The calculations assume that corona measures no longer apply. Another assumption is that only the British, South African and Brazilian variants will gain a foothold in the Netherlands. Current vaccines are sufficiently effective against these variants, but may be less effective against other and future variants.
The RIVM also assumes that people who have had corona will not be infected again and that the protection of vaccines will not decrease in the coming period. It is not yet known exactly how long a corona vaccine will provide protection and whether a repeat injection will be necessary at any given time.
Yesterday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) decided to also approve the use of the Pfizer vaccine for 12-15 year olds, previously it had already been approved for use above 16 years of age. It has not yet been decided whether 12 to 18-year-olds will actually be vaccinated in the Netherlands. The caretaker cabinet first wants to await the advice of the Health Council.
Minister De Jonge of Public Health did not want to anticipate too much during yesterday’s press conference. According to him, it depends, among other things, on the vaccination coverage in the rest of the population “whether you really need it for group immunity”. Another scenario is that only 12-17 year olds with underlying medical problems are vaccinated.
In other countries, the decision has already been taken to vaccinate children over the age of 12. In the US and Canada it has been happening since May, in Germany the group will be eligible for an injection from June 7.
‘Watch how it develops’
Pediatricians in the Netherlands previously indicated that they were in favor of vaccinating the age group. OMT member Károly Illy, chairman of the Dutch Pediatric Association, especially mentioned the social argument “to vaccinate as many people in this society as possible, so that as few people as possible can get sick and we get rid of the virus and the measures as quickly as possible. to be.”
Epidemiologist and pediatrician Patricia Bruijning responded more cautiously: “We just have to see how the virus develops. If it re-emerges, it may be necessary to vaccinate children to get the virus under control.” World Health Organization director Tedros was critical of the vaccination of children. Rich countries should share their vaccines with poor countries before vaccinating children.