The Dutch health council has decided that it is not necessary to offer booster vaccinations to teenagers because the health benefits are too limited to justify it. However, children with serious immune deficiencies or with vulnerable family members who need protection may still have a booster on a case for case basis, the council said in its recommendations to the health ministry. ‘If a vaccinated adolescent gets the Omicron variant, the illness is generally mild and the likelihood of being admitted to hospital is minimal,’ the council said. The council also points out that the European Medicines Agency in Amsterdam has not yet given its position on boosters for 12 to 17-year-olds. Teenagers in the Netherlands have been eligible for vaccination since last July.
The news will come as a blow to families hoping to travel to countries where booster vaccinations are compulsory in the coming half term holidays. ‘The commission realises that boosting adolescents will give them the option of visiting countries which have made boosters compulsory,’ said deputy chairwoman Marianne Geleijnse. ‘But the decision about whether or not to give them a vaccine is outside the council’s mandate.’ People who were given the Janssen vaccine are also facing problems in travelling to some countries because they have only had one dose of vaccine plus a booster. Health minister Ernst Kuipers has said he will consult the health council (Gezondheidsraad) about how to resolve the situation around the Janssen vaccine.