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Romania, Italy Open COVID-19 Vaccinations For Adolescents

A Romanian schoolchild cries and hugs her mother on the first day of the 2020-21 school year amid the coronavirus pandemic in Bucharest on September 14.

Romania and Italy will open up COVID-19 vaccinations for adolescents, becoming the first EU countries to do so after the European Commission approved use of the BioNTech/Pfizer shot for children aged 12 and older.

The EU executive approved use of the vaccine for adolescents on May 31, a week after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) endorsed the shot for the age group. Each of the EU’s 27 member states can now decide whether to expand their vaccination campaigns to adolescents.

Wasting little time, Romanian Prime Minister Florin Citu said children 12 and older can start receiving COVID-19 shots from June 1, while Italy’s government said it would also allow the shot for adolescents.

Other countries in Europe are expected to follow suit, although some may initially continue to prioritize vaccinating adults and only children with preexisting health problems that make them vulnerable to the virus.

The BioNTech/Pfizer vaccination has already been approved for use by children aged 12 and up in the United States and Canada.