the extension of the health pass to 12-17 year olds comes into effect on Thursday

The sanitary pass is expanding. From Thursday, September 30, French teenagers aged 12 and two months to 17 years old must present, like millions of French people before them, the precious sesame to have access to many activities such as the cinema, the swimming pool, the restaurants. … “From September 30, 2021, the health pass will be compulsory for minors aged 12 to 17”, recalls the French government on its website.

The health pass is required at the entrance of many places: bars, restaurants, nightclubs, funfairs, zoos, festivals, sports halls, museums, cinemas, long-distance transport and swimming pools. Adults have already been forced to do so for almost two months. They must regularly present this document in the form of a QR code, which certifies either that they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, or that they have recently performed a negative test, or that they have already contracted the disease. and are therefore assumed to be immune.

Adolescents had hitherto escaped it because they were behind schedule in terms of vaccination. Indeed, the health authorities have only allowed 12-17 year olds since June to receive an anti-Covid vaccine: first that of Pfizer-BioNTech, then joined by the product from Moderna. There remains, moreover, in this respect, a subtlety. It is only from 12 years and two months that the pass must be presented. If we asked a 12-year-old child to the day, he would not have had time to be fully vaccinated because he would not have had the right until then. Now, without reaching the vaccination rate of their elders, the number of 12-17 year olds has increased sharply: about two thirds of them are fully vaccinated.

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Sensitive subject

The government has sought to accelerate the pace by organizing vaccination campaigns in middle and high schools at the start of the school year. But these hardly produced any results: less than 30,000 doses were injected there. “There are sometimes a few (…) difficulties in collecting family membership ”, the health ministry admitted at a press conference on Tuesday. From 12 to 15 years old, the agreement of only one of the two parents, or legal representatives is sufficient. Minors over 16 can decide to be vaccinated without parental permission.

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But the subject of the vaccination of minors is sensitive and it is one of the main grievances expressed during the weekly demonstrations against the health pass, whose attendance has been declining since the end of the summer. In this context, the government accepted some concessions for minors. Unlike unvaccinated adults, they will all be able to continue to routinely benefit from free PCR tests after October 15.

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The vaccination of minors remains, in any case, a subject conducive to scientific debates, given the very low risk of developing a severe form of Covid-19 in this age group. The major interest is therefore collective. By vaccinating, young people “Help curb the spread of the virus in the community and limit congestion in hospitals”, explains epidemiologist Antoine Flahault, however also evoking their individual risk, if they contract the disease, of developing sequelae, called “long Covid”.

The pediatric community supports adolescent vaccination

The National Professional Pediatric Council spoke out on Friday July 23 in favor of vaccinating adolescents against Covid-19. The risk-benefit balance is judged “Favorable to date” given the greater contagiousness of the Delta variant, he wrote in a press release, but also given the increase in the proportion of adolescents and young adults infected. Paediatricians also invoke the “Reassuring results regarding the low frequency of reported side effects”, after more than 3.5 billion doses were injected worldwide and 7.5 million 12-18 year olds received two doses of the vaccine in the United States. For children under 12, in the absence of a study, “Vaccination is not possible for several months”, they add. In their press release, pediatricians call for “Adult responsibility” : “The benefit for the mental health of children and adolescents in these difficult times depends above all on the vaccination of all adults, in particular those most likely to develop a severe form, they insist, but also caregivers, teachers, other childcare professionals and parents. “

The World with AFP