THE FINNISH INSTITUTE for Health and Welfare (THL) is proposing that the campaign to vaccinate the population against the new coronavirus be expanded to also cover 12–15-year-olds.
Mia Kontio, a senior expert at THL, on Thursday reminded in a press conference that even though young people rarely develop serious symptoms from the infection, the indirect consequences of vaccinations would be significant.
They would not only protect the young people themselves and their family members, but also reduce the need to target restrictions at young people and thus contribute substantially to their well-being.
The virus has caused fewer hospitalisations, sequelae and deaths in younger age groups than older, reminded THL: In Finland, about five per cent of the reported infections have been detected in 12–15-year-olds and on average about two in thousand infections in 0–19-year-olds have required special health care, with a total of five critical care periods recorded to date.
The coronavirus disease has yet to cause a single death in the age group.
“Although the number of serious infections in children is low, the restrictions imposed on social contact, hobbies and school because of the pandemic have had a pronounced impact on the lives of children and young people for a long time,” said Otto Helve, a chief physician at THL.
The Pfizer-Biontech Covid-19 vaccine is presently the only to be authorised for use on young people, although the approval is to be granted in the coming days also to the vaccine developed by Moderna, according to Kontio.
“A minor could decide on the vaccination based on his or her level of development and the guardian’s consent would be asked if necessary,” she commented.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT