Only in centers, with the authorization of both parents and the consent of the minor: the vaccination of adolescents against Covid-19 begins on Tuesday, June 15 under certain conditions with, as the main challenge, the increase in vaccination coverage to limit as much as possible the circulation of the coronavirus. Update on the changes taking effect today:
Vaccination will be open to all children 12 and over from Tuesday, potentially more than three and a half million people. With one exception: adolescents who have developed pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PIMS) following infection with SARS-CoV-2, for whom vaccination is not recommended. Until now, only young people of 16 and 17 years old could be vaccinated in two cases: if they suffered from a very high-risk pathology of severe form of Covid-19 or if they were relatives of immunocompromised people.
The vaccination of adolescents will only be possible in a center with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the only one to date to have a marketing authorization for this age group. Moderna, which made a request last week, is awaiting the European Union’s response.
Who gives its authorization?
The vaccination of minors requires the authorization of the two holders of parental authority but the presence of only one will be required during the injection. A parental authorization form, available online, must be completed and signed before the vaccination. The administration of the vaccine will nonetheless be subject to the oral consent of the minor concerned.
Why vaccinate adolescents?
Deaths from Covid-19 are exceptional among adolescents: the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has recorded 98 deaths out of 1.1 million cases among 10-19 year olds. The risk of a severe form requiring hospitalization is also very low (0.9% according to the ECDC).
But, if the benefit / risk ratio of being vaccinated remains less obvious for this age group than for the rest of the population, specialists highlight an indirect individual benefit: vaccinated, adolescents will be able to resume a normal life more quickly. , they who have been severely affected by the successive restrictions (confinements, reduction of social interactions, closure of schools or distance education, etc.). Vaccination of adolescents could contribute to the return to normal functioning of schools, colleges and high schools, and limit the risks for staff and vulnerable students.
Vaccinating 12-17 year olds will above all make it possible to immunize a larger part of the population and thus better fight against the circulation of the virus. If their health is not at risk, adolescents are not immune to infection and can therefore participate in the transmission of the coronavirus. Their immunization therefore helps to curb the epidemic.
Are there any reservations?
If the vaccination of adolescents has a collective advantage, some specialists wonder about the advisability of opening the centers to them when only 26.7% of adults, more at risk, have received two injections (57.6% one dose). . The High Authority for Health also recommended at the beginning of June to wait until the vaccination of adults is sufficiently advanced before generalizing it to this age group. And the National Ethics Committee (CCNE) regretted Wednesday “That decisions” concerning the vaccination of adolescents against Covid-19 “Were taken so quickly”, wondering if it was ethical to make minors bear the responsibility, in terms of collective benefit, for the refusal of vaccination (or the difficulty of obtaining it) of a part of the adult population.
The World Health Organization had for its part called on countries in mid-May to give up immunizing children and adolescents against Covid-19 and donate the doses thus released to the Covax system to redistribute them to underprivileged countries.