Covid-19 in Austria: Vaccine for 12- to 15-Year-Olds

Lifestyle & TravelHealth ♦ Published: May 31, 2021; 11:00 ♦ (Vindobona)

After the approval of the EMA for the BionTech/Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years, Austria aims to have the more than 340,000 eligible children and adolescents vaccined by the end of August. Read more below!

The Covid-19 vaccine from BionTech/Pfizer will soon be administered to children aged 12 and older. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Arne Müseler ( / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE (

The Covid-19 vaccine from BionTech/Pfizer can also be administered to children aged 12 and older. This was decided by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Afterwards, Austria's National Immunization Panel (NIG) followed the decision.

According to Austria's Health Minister Mückstein, children and adolescents in Austria aged twelve and older are to be largely vaccinated by the end of August.

Children will be prioritized according to the risk group listing, according to a NIG statement provided by the Austrian Department of Health, and healthy children "in descending order of age."

"Until Covid-19 vaccines are available for younger children at increased risk of disease, special importance and priority must be given to protecting the environment with regard to Covid-19 vaccination," the NIG said. The vaccines from AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are not currently licensed for use in persons under 18 years of age.

The EMA's decision to approve vaccination of children even in the 12- to 15-year-old age group with the vaccine from BionTech/Pfizer had been expected. The data showed that the vaccine was safe in this age group as well, and efficacy was comparable or even better than in adults, EMA vaccine expert Marco Cavaleri said at a press conference. This makes the vaccine from BionTech/Pfizer the first approved in the EU for children.

Recent study results, which were already the basis for emergency approval of the vaccine in the U.S. in this age group, indicate that the vaccine is safe and effective for 12- to 15-year-olds. According to the studies, no Covid-19 cases occurred in more than 1,000 vaccinated children and adolescents. In an unvaccinated control group of about the same size, there were 16 cases.

In Austria, the decision affects up to 340,035 children and adolescents.

Even before the decision, Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein commented on the possible vaccination of the younger ones. If approved, minors are to be vaccinated by the end of the summer, Mückstein said at a press conference: "Our goal is to have as many children and adolescents between 12 and 16 vaccinated as possible by the end of August."