Europe’s under -12 vaccine roll-out

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced on Wednesday, December 1 that Europe’s under -12 vaccine roll-out will start soon.

The Pfizer laboratory has informed the European Commission that it’s newly licensed under -12 vaccine to immunise children aged five years and older against the coronavirus will be available to European Union countries “as of December 13”.

This was announced at a press conference in Brussels to call on the European public to get vaccinated and to confirm that the European Union has enough doses to cover the inoculation of a booster dose to all Europeans already vaccinated.

Pfizer’s under -12 vaccine was given the go-ahead by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) last week. The dose will be lower than that used in people aged 12 and over (10 ugs versus 30 ug) but will also be administered in two injections into the upper arm muscles, three weeks apart.

According to data provided by the Commission, 76% of the adult population in the European Union has already been vaccinated with the full regimen, but very low rates remain in countries such as Bulgaria and Romania. The under -12 vaccine is hoped to boost that rate significantly.

The head of the EU executive also stressed the importance of maintaining preventive measures, such as keeping masks on, respecting physical distance and not forgetting hygiene, as fundamental tools for continuing the fight against the advance of the pandemic.

On the Omicron variant, whose first cases were formally reported on November 24 in South Africa, but which had already infected patients in the Netherlands a few days earlier, Von der Leyen conceded that “not much is known yet” about its capacity to spread and virulence, but insisted that “enough is known to be concerned”.

In this regard, Von der Leyen noted that it will take two to three weeks to have clearer data and stressed the need to act quickly to prevent the EU from becoming a “hotspot” for the variant, in particular by reinforcing screening to isolate cases and working on sequencing.

For more information on how to get the under -12 vaccine, please contact your local health centre.

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