ECDC report outlines considerations for COVID-19 vaccination of adolescents

News story
1 Jun 2021

A new ECDC report, issued today, provides policymakers in EU/EEA with a number of objectives and considerations on COVID-19 vaccination of 12-18-year-olds. The report highlights the current recommendations and status of COVID-19 vaccination of adolescents in EU/EEA countries, describes the epidemiology of COVID-19 in this age group and discusses vaccine effectiveness against transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

As vaccination rollout progresses, we are arriving at the stage where vaccination of younger age groups such as adolescents needs to be considered,” said Andrea Ammon, ECDC Director. “Our guidance highlights several important issues for policymakers to take into account. This includes current vaccination uptake especially in older age groups, the incidence of COVID-19 in the population, and issues concerning availability and access to vaccines on a global scale.

Some EU/EEA countries have already initiated vaccination of older adolescents with the COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty that was authorised for use from the age of 16 in December 2020. On 28 May 2021, this vaccine was approved for use in children aged 12 to 15 in the EU.

As the course of COVID-19 disease is typically milder in healthy adolescents, vaccine uptake in older age groups should continue to be given priority before targeting adolescents as a whole. Vaccination of teenagers that are at high risk of severe COVID-19 should be prioritised in the same way as vaccination of all people at high risk of severe disease in other age groups.

To inform further decision making on vaccination of adolescents, the report stresses the importance of continuing to monitor the spread of variants of concern among younger individuals, and to assess long-term effects of COVID-19.