Should children be vaccinated against covid-19? Scientists respond

With the advance of vaccination in developed countries and the scarcity of vaccines in developing countries, what is the real need to vaccinate children, since the group has lower chances — although real — of developing the severe form of the disease? Scientists helped answer this question in an article recently published by the magazine nature.

On July 19, counselors in the UK recommended deferring vaccination for the majority of young people under the age of 16, citing very low rates of the severe form of the disease in the age group. But several countries, such as the United States and Israel, continue to vaccinate their young people.

Who is right about childhood vaccinations?

While the chances of covid-19 deaths in children are reduced, post-covid syndrome — which includes a range of symptoms that can last for months, even after a mild case of the disease — can affect children as well, warned Adam Ratner, an expert in New York University pediatric infectious diseases.

A very small number of children can still develop Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (P-MIS), which has severe symptoms, after covid-19.

But the severe form of the disease, deaths and even the long covid-19 are rare among healthy teenagers and children. “And pretty soon almost all vulnerable adults will have received two doses of the vaccine,” University of Bristol pediatrician Adam Finn recalled at a news conference.

There are pediatricians concerned about the co-infection of children with the virus that causes covid-19, SARS-CoV-2, and other common viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus, one of the causes of the common cold, which can rarely cause respiratory illness. severe in young children. “With reduced social distance, there are already signs that respiratory syncytial virus infections in children are on the rise,” said Danilo Buonsenso, a pediatrician at the Gemelli University Hospital in Rome.

Is it safe to vaccinate children?

Some vaccines have been tested in young people over 12, including messenger RNA vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech and two Chinese vaccines — Sinovac and Sinopharm. All have been considered safe in clinical studies. Countries like the United States, Israel and China are already offering vaccines for the age group. Other studies are soon to report results in young people over the age of 12, including those of the Zydus Cadila and Covaxin vaccines, both made in India.

So far, immunizers appear to be safe in teenagers — and some companies are conducting clinical trials on children as young as 6 months of age. According to pediatrician Andrea Shane, from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, the United States should provide vaccines for children under 12 this year.

But there is a potential link between Pfizer’s vaccine and mild inflammation of the heart — myocarditis and pericarditis — that has been suggested since Israel and the United States began vaccinating young people. Researchers have not yet established whether the vaccine caused the inflammation and most people affected have recovered, some of them without the need for medication.

Data suggest that the risk of developing the conditions is “extremely low”, around 67 cases per million second doses in male adolescents aged 12 to 17 years and 9 per million in female adolescents in the same age group, according to pediatrician David Pace, from the University of Malta, in the village of Msida.

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate children?

“On a population level, vaccinated adolescents can result in a reduction in transmission to vulnerable seniors,” said Pace.

For Catherine Bennett, an epidemiologist at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, data show that children and adolescents can play a significant role in the transmission of the coronavirus — and concerns about transmission are growing as new variants of the coronavirus appear.

It’s possible that more transmissible variants will develop a way to bypass young people’s immune responses and make them more resistant to infection, Bennett said — which makes vaccination even more important. “You just need a poorly vaccinated population to generate global variants,” said the scientist. For her, with hopes of achieving mass immunity through waning immunization, countries need to do what they can to keep transmission down.

But the plan to vaccinate young people comes up against the need for global immunization and the difficulty of less favored countries in getting doses to immunize the economically active population.

In May, the head of the World Health Organization – WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the richest countries that are vaccinating children are doing so at the expense of health professionals and high-risk groups in other countries. Advocates of vaccinating young people, however, argue that it doesn’t have to be one case or the other, it just needs to improve the distribution and donation of doses.

While the chances of covid-19 deaths in children are reduced, post-covid syndrome — which includes a range of symptoms that can last for months, even after a mild case of the disease — can affect children as well, warned Adam Ratner, an expert in New York University pediatric infectious diseases.
A very small number of children can still develop Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (P-SIM), which has severe symptoms, after covid-19.
But the severe form of the disease, deaths and even the long covid-19 are rare among healthy teenagers and children. “And pretty soon almost all vulnerable adults will have received two doses of the vaccine,” University of Bristol pediatrician Adam Finn recalled at a news conference.
There are pediatricians concerned about the co-infection of children with the virus that causes covid-19, SARS-CoV-2, and other common viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus, one of the causes of the common cold, which can rarely cause respiratory illness. severe in young children. “With reduced social distance, there are already signs that respiratory syncytial virus infections in children are on the rise,” said Danilo Buonsenso, a pediatrician at the Gemelli University Hospital in Rome.

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