It is necessary to examine whether children can also be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Thats what two leading experts say to Nieuwsuur. The call is particularly urgent because of the spread of the British variant of the coronavirus.
The virus variant that first appeared in England is much more contagious than the regular coronavirus. There is evidence that it also spreads faster among children. “Until now, we had the idea that in children the spread of corona is small and that children do not get very sick. That seems different with the British variant,” says Maarten Postma, Professor of Health Economics.
Postma is on the British Health Council, and sees that the hospitals there are bulging due to the rapid spread of the British mutation. In London, the state of emergency is true.
To avoid such a situation here, steps must be taken, says doctor-microbiologist and OMT member Marc Bonten. Hes very worried. “Something will have to be done to be stronger against this virus. Children may also have to be vaccinated to master this virus forever.”
No more under control?
Today it turned out that residents of a residential care centre in Surhuisterveen are infected with the British variant. “Thats an ominous sign,” says Bonten. “It must mean that somehow the virus has entered Friesland. Or that there has been a connection with Rotterdam, for example, but then there will have been a lot of people who have spread it all and whom we no longer have in the picture.”
He therefore fears that the spread of this variant is now too fast to control. “We know from tests that the virus is still minimal. Between one and five percent of all viruses we find, this variant seems to be. In London, 90 percent of infections are now caused by this variant. It is important that we do not get there in the Netherlands.”
EMA waives research in children
It is therefore particularly important to administer “every vaccine entering the country” as soon as possible, emphasises Bonten. “Whether children also play an important role in spreading and need to be vaccinated, we cannot yet say.” In order to learn more about the role of children, all 63,000 inhabitants of the municipality of Lansingerland, where there was an outbreak of the British variant, are currently being tested.
In addition, Bonten and Postma therefore advocate rapid research into the action of coronavaccins in children. “At some point, children will probably come into the picture to vaccinate, and then you need to have a good look at that,” says Postma.
Bonten: “We need to know if the vaccine is effective and safe in children. That investigation has yet to start. The European Medicines Agency, EMA, is looking at this for the time being, so vaccine products must go to countries outside Europe.”