Deferral of decision regarding a second dose for 12 to 15-year-olds

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One dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has been offered to children aged 12 to 15 since the beginning of September. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has considered whether they should also be offered a second dose, but has recommended waiting for more knowledge. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health will make a new assessment in early 2022.

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It is the assessment of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health that there is no justification at present for offering a second vaccine dose to adolescents born between 2006 and 2009. The reason for this is that adolescents have a low risk of becoming seriously ill.

One vaccine dose is up to 85% effective against serious illness, and it is likely that this protection lasts for at least 16 weeks. As the infection rate for adolescents born in 2006 to 2009 is lower than it is for older teenagers, there is less evidence in favour of giving two doses to this group in order to limit transmission.

A second vaccine dose is also associated with a higher risk of pericarditis and myocarditis (inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart and of the heart muscle), particularly among young men and boys. Nordic analyses will generate more detailed information about this risk in the near future.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health will perform new assessments in early 2022, on the basis of updates to the knowledge regarding serious side effects, development of illness, and the overall situation before making a recommendation as to whether to give a second dose to this age group.

Seventy per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds have received one dose. The age group 12–15 consists of 260 000 people, or 4.8 per cent of the population. Children born in 2006–2008 attend lower secondary school, while children born in 2009 attend primary school.