Romania and Italy today begin vaccinating adolescents against the coronavirus, becoming the first European Union countries to do so, at a time when the European Commission on Monday approved the use of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine in children 12 years of age and older.
Now, each of the 27 EU member states can decide whether or not to expand the vaccination campaign to include adolescents, based on their reserves and also on the priorities that governments have.
Romanian Prime Minister Florin Citu said children 12 and older could start vaccination from June 1st, the same as the Italian government.
Other countries in Europe are expected to follow suit, although some may continue to prioritize vaccinating adults and children with health problems, who are in the most vulnerable group to the virus.
The United States and Canada have previously approved the use of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine in children 12 years of age and older.
Both the US and Europe are eager to further accelerate vaccination, which has already reduced infection rates and led to the reopening of economies. At a time when the US has the highest vaccination rate in the world, France on Monday opened vaccinations for anyone aged 18 and over, and the same decision is expected to be made by Germany on June 7.
But despite the positive developments on both sides of the Atlantic, the coronavirus remains a major threat in some countries, especially after the emergence of the Vietnamese variant, a combination of the British and Indian variants of COVID-19.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the coronavirus has affected over 170 million people worldwide, and over 3.5 million of them have lost their lives. While the number of unvaccinated vaccine doses so far has exceeded 1.8 billion.