FAQ about COVID-19 vaccination of children
The previous recommendation was to offer COVID-19 vaccination to all children aged 5-11 years, if they had not yet had COVID-19. The Health Council of the Netherlands has updated its advisory opinion. It is no longer necessary to offer COVID-19 vaccination to all children. This is because there is now an Omicron variant that is less likely to cause severe illness. Also, nearly all children have now had COVID-19. Therefore, they are less likely to develop the serious health condition known as ‘MIS-C’.
Children who have a serious medical condition are at higher risk of severe illness and hospitalisation if they get COVID-19.
Children who are in medical high-risk groups can get a repeat vaccination against COVID-19 soon. Most children will not need the repeat vaccination.
At this point, most children no longer need a COVID-19 vaccination. Did your child already have the first and second vaccination? And did you already make an appointment for the repeat vaccination? Then you can keep the appointment or opt to cancel it.
Your child no longer needs to be vaccinated. Did you already schedule an appointment for the second vaccination? Then you can keep the appointment. You can also opt to cancel the appointment.
In the basic series of COVID-19 vaccinations (first and second dose), children receive an age-appropriate dose of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer/BioNTech. In the repeat vaccination against COVID-19, children receive an age-appropriate dose of the updated Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. This vaccine dose is made specifically for children and approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Most side-effects observed in children are the same as in adolescents and adults, and are usually not severe. Examples include:
These side-effects are usually gone within 1-2 days. In very rare cases, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) may occur after vaccination.
The vaccination does not affect fertility in men or women. That means it does not make you infertile.
If your children have been fully vaccinated, they may still be infected with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. However, your children are much less likely to be infected or to infect others if they are vaccinated than if they are not vaccinated.
At this time, it is unknown how long the vaccine will offer protection. That also depends on how the virus develops.
Children will be offered 2 vaccinations in the basic series and 1 repeat vaccination to achieve effective protection against COVID-19.
The second COVID-19 vaccination is always the same as the first vaccination. That applies even for children who turn 12 after their first vaccination. These children will receive the child dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for both vaccinations.
The vaccinations will be administered by the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs).
You can make an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccination. It is no longer necessary to leave an interval between the COVID-19 vaccination and other vaccinations.
If your child has a fever (temperature of 38.5 C or higher), then it would be better to postpone the vaccination. Once the fever has gone down, you can make an appointment to get the vaccination.
No. Vaccination is a voluntary choice.
On 3 December 2021, the Health Council of the Netherlands issued an advisory report on vaccinating children aged 5-11 years who are in a medical risk group. The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) adopted this advisory opinion: COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5-11 years in medical risk groups.
On 10 December 2021, the Health Council of the Netherlands recommended making COVID-19 vaccination available for children aged 5-11 years who want to get vaccinated, and for their parents. The Cabinet adopted this advisory opinion.
On 19 January 2022, the Health Council issued the supplementary advisory opinion that vaccination of children aged 5-11 years continues to be relevant, even in the current epidemiological situation in which the Omicron variant is dominant. This is especially applicable to children who have not yet had COVID-19.