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Since the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in late 2020 and throughout 2021, European governments have relied on mathematical modelling to inform policy decisions about COVID-19 vaccination.


We present a scenario-based modelling analysis in the Netherlands during summer 2021, to inform whether to extend vaccination to adolescents (12–17-year-olds) and children (5–11-year-olds).


We developed a deterministic, age-structured susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered (SEIR) model and compared modelled incidences of infections, hospital and intensive care admissions, and deaths per 100,000 people across vaccination scenarios, before the emergence of the Omicron variant.


Our model projections showed that, on average, upon the release of all non-pharmaceutical control measures on 1 November 2021, a large COVID-19 wave may occur in winter 2021/22, followed by a smaller, second wave in spring 2022, regardless of the vaccination scenario. The model projected reductions in infections/severe disease outcomes when vaccination was extended to adolescents and further reductions when vaccination was extended to all people over 5 years-old. When examining projected disease outcomes by age group, individuals benefitting most from extending vaccination were adolescents and children themselves. We also observed reductions in disease outcomes in older age groups, particularly of parent age (30–49 years), when children and adolescents were vaccinated, suggesting some prevention of onward transmission from younger to older age groups.


While our scenarios could not anticipate the emergence/consequences of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, we illustrate how our approach can assist decision making. This could be useful when considering to provide booster doses or intervening against future infection waves.


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