Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Debate on covid-19 vaccination in children

Other good reasons for covid-19 vaccination in pre-adolescent and adolescent populations

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: (Published 20 August 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n2052
  1. Federico Marchetti, director1,
  2. Giorgio Tamburlini, director2
  1. 1Department of Paediatrics, Santa Maria delle Croci Hospital, Ravenna, Italy
  2. 2Centro per la Salute del Bambino, Trieste, Italy
  1. federico.marchetti{at}

Head to Head, 17 July

In Wilkinson and colleagues’ article giving the reasons for and against covid-19 vaccination for children and adolescents1 it is surprising that the consequences of the “secondary pandemic” on this population were not taken into account. Indeed, there are several other good reasons for vaccination of the adolescent population, whose lives have been so badly affected by containment measures.

Of special concern are the consequences on the mental health and wellbeing of children and adolescents: anxiety, depression, disturbances in sleep and appetite, isolation, and self-harm have been increasing, and the negative impact on children and adolescents’ mental health will continue for years.23 Prolonged school closures have produced dramatic learning loss, particularly among the most disadvantaged students, which will translate into an epidemic of school failures, drop-outs, and gloomy life perspectives for many.4

The multidimensional adverse consequences for children and adolescents have been highlighted at a global level by international agencies, but they do not seem to be taken into adequate consideration at country level when discussing vaccination strategies and remedial measures.

The risk to benefit ratio of vaccination for pre-adolescents and adolescents is in favour of the benefits—for adolescents themselves and for the whole of society, as only vaccination can allow them to restore their normal social and educational process and have their rights, widely neglected during the pandemic, respected. The way children and adolescents have been forced to live for over a year has been the most dangerous “variant” of their lives.


  • Competing interests: None declared.

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