The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is currently examining a COVID-19 vaccine developed for five- to eleven-year-old children. If the EMA approves and the Health Council of the Netherlands gives positive advice, the Dutch cabinet could decide whether children should be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Martin Buijsen, Professor of Health Law at Erasmus School of Law, states that the vaccination of kids that go to primary school solely to protect other vulnerable groups within society is not justifiable.
"If children benefit more than they suffer from a vaccine, the government is allowed to instruct a vaccination. In this regard, the instruction of the MMR vaccination (mumps, measles, rubella) is fine. A COVID-19 vaccination could be justifiable in some cases, for example in the case of overweight children. These children could get seriously ill from the coronavirus", according to Buijsen. However, vaccination is not allowed if kids do not experience any benefits. In the case of COVID-19, infected kids almost always come off with a cold.
The child's interest comes before anything else
In article 3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 'the best interest of the child' is mentioned. “When the long-term effects of a vaccine for young kids are unknown, vaccination is not in the child's best interest. The Convention on the Rights of the Child has direct effect, so there is no Dutch law or regulation that may hurt the interest of the child. Whether the use of children is presented as 'immunological shield' or 'ankle bracelet', the use of children as an instrument is complete taboo", according to Buijsen.