Several countries with advanced adult COVID-19 immunisation programmes have already started vaccinating adolescents with an mRNA vaccine that recently received emergency use authorisation for 12–15 year-olds. The decision to vaccinate adolescents remains highly divisive among parents, clinicians, politicians and policy makers. There are very few downsides to immunising adolescents with a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine because that would significantly reduce their risk of COVID-19 and all its complications. Based on current evidence, however, adolescents have a very low risk of severe or fatal COVID-19, even among those with comorbidities, or rare complications such as long COVID or Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PIMS-TS), a hyperinflammatory syndrome temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, currently authorised vaccines are very reactogenic and have limited post-marketing population-level safety data in adolescents and young adults, but these are emerging from countries that have forged ahead with vaccinating adolescents. Countries that have yet to make a recommendation can afford to wait until there is sufficient information to make informed decisions on the risk-benefits of vaccinating adolescents with current and future COVID-19 vaccines. Alternatives to two-dose vaccination in adolescents may include a single dose or a reduced dose schedule as is currently being trialled in younger children.
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Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of The British Infection Association.
Citation: Shamez N Ladhani, Crossing the Rubicon: A fine line between waiting and vaccinating adolescents against COVID-19, Journal of Infection, Volume 83, Issue 3, 2021, Pages 294-297, ISSN 0163-4453,