COVID-19 vaccine for children nears approval


US parents weigh risks and benefits as COVID-19 vaccine for children nears approval

Monday's announcement by Pfizer and BioNTech that their low-dose coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective for kids ages 5 to 11 in a clinical trial came as a relief to many parents eagerly awaiting the opportunity to protect their children.

After The highly contagious Delta variant of the virus hit the start of the US school year, leading to a spike in infections among young children - including many requiring hospitalization - and forcing thousands of schools to close for days or even weeks.

The companies said they plan to apply for regulatory permission as soon as possible for a ten microgram dose for children aged 5 to 11 years after it triggered a strong immune response in a trial in which 2268 participated. At its original strength of 30 micrograms, the vaccine was approved on an Emergency basis for children ages 12 to 15. Health officials believe a lower dose could be approved for younger children by the end of October.

There are about 29 million American children between the ages of 5 and 11.

"A lot of parents who have been vaccinated themselves — and their children are vaccinated for everything else — but are just worried about an entirely new vaccine," said Shane Nagel, a Denver-area pediatrician. "They also have the mentality that children are less likely to get seriously ill."

Jill Goldstein, 50, was forced to withdraw her 8-year-old daughter from her elementary school in New York City on the second day of the school year after another child tested positive, prompting a mandatory 10-day quarantine for the class.

Goldstein said she would get her daughter's vaccine but conceded she might not be "first in class."

risk assessment

Los Angeles, home to the nation's second-largest school district, has mandated vaccinations for students age 12 and older.

Slightly more than 50% of American children ages 12 to 15 have had at least one injection, according to federal data, less than any other eligible age group.

While children are still at lower risk, nearly 500 of them have died from COVID-19, said Sean O'Leary, vice-chair of the Infectious Diseases Committee at the American Academy of Pediatrics. In some areas with high infection rates, children's hospitals were overcrowded.

"These vaccines have probably been better evaluated for their safety than any other drug in history," he said. He pointed out that vaccines historically do not have long-term side effects. 

The vaccine can still cause some rare side effects in children that cannot be detected in a relatively small study. That's not a reason to avoid vaccines, said Arthur Reingold, chair of the department of epidemiology at the University of California.

0/Post a Comment/Comments