The Ministry of Education wants to vaccinate children from 12 to 16 years old before the school year begins. The minister Isabel Celaá has advanced that students will receive the first dose of the vaccine against Covid-19 “the first week of September”.
Total, almost three million young people will be vaccinated with doses of Pfizer, the only vaccine that, for the moment, has received the green light from the European Medicines Agency to be administered in minors between 12 and 15 years old.
Celaá has not explained where this group will be vaccinated, whether in schools, hospitals or in large spaces. “This is a matter for the Ministry of Health to decide,” said the Minister of Education and Professional Training on TVE.
Precisely this week the Ministry of Health and the autonomous communities approved in the Public Health Commission the creation of three new age groups to receive the vaccine: those from 30 to 39 (group 11), people between 20 and 29 years old (group 12) and adolescents from 12 to 19 years (group 13). This Commission did not clarify which vaccines to inoculate in each of the groups, although in the last group, the 13th, only Pfizer can be used.
No distance in class?
Celaá has also advanced that Education provides, with the approval of Health, “do without” interpersonal distance 1.2 meters between students in the month of September as long as “the vaccination allows us to.”
The use of the mask will be mandatory, a measure that for the minister “has worked really well” in this school year. Some regions such as Catalonia or Andalusia have already proposed relaxing the use of the mask and doing without it in the outdoor patio.
On the vaccination of students, communities such as Catalonia have already advanced that this group will receive its dose in the institutes and other schools. Others, such as Andalusia or Extremadura have defended the vaccination with doses of Pfizer to the population between 12 and 16 years before even that first week of September, since they bet that this group arrives with the complete schedule on their first day of class.
21 days must elapse between the first and second doses of Pfizer, so depending on the school calendars of the autonomous communities, the first dose should be inoculated in the second half of August.
In recent weeks, the 10 to 19-year-old group has been one of those who registered a greater number of infections and a higher cumulative incidence. However, epidemiological data in Spain show that people aged 50 to 59 years, 40 to 49 and 30 to 39 years have a higher risk of hospitalization, ICU admission and death than adolescents and pre-adolescents.
On May 28, the European Medicines Agency supported the use of Pfizer’s vaccine for adolescents between 12 and 15 years old, becoming the first preparation to pass European scientific scrutiny for minors and that until now was only authorized in the EU for those over 16 years of age due to the lack of clinical studies that demonstrate its efficacy in other age groups.
Although there are already countries that vaccinate without age restrictions, such as Italy, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has recalled that older age groups should continue to be prioritized when vaccinating against Covid-19 before starting with adolescents.
In a report, the ECDC emphasizes that the disease in healthy young people is normally “milder” and considers that before starting to inoculate this group, several factors should be considered, such as the vaccination strategy for the entire population, the status of implementation and their priorities, in addition to the epidemiological situation.
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