2021 Volume 51, Issue 11, e13678
Strategies for the use of COVID-19 vaccines in children and young adults (in particular university students) are hotly debated and important to optimize. As of late August 2021, recommendations on the use of these vaccines in children vary across different countries. Recommendations are more uniform for vaccines in young adults, but vaccination uptake in this age group shows a large range across countries. Mandates for vaccination of university students are a particularly debated topic with many campuses endorsing mandates in the USA in contrast to European countries, at least as of August 2021. The commentary discusses the potential indirect impact of vaccination of youth on the COVID-19 burden of disease for other age groups and societal functioning at large, estimates of direct impact on reducing fatalities and nonlethal COVID-19-related events in youth, estimates of potential lethal and nonlethal adverse events from vaccines and differential considerations that may exist in the USA, European countries and nonhigh-income countries. Decision-making for deploying COVID-19 vaccines in young people is subject to residual uncertainty on the future course of the pandemic and potential evolution towards endemicity. Rational recommendations would also benefit from better understanding of the clinical and sociodemographic features of COVID-19 risk in young populations and from dissecting the role of re-infections and durability of natural vs. vaccine-induced immunity.
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