Saturday, November 27

Three million children could be vaccinated this fall: how to be the pediatric Covid vaccine


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It was not expected before 2022, but things have gone so fast that 3.2 million children ages 5 to 11 may be starting to get vaccinated against covid this fall. Be the same as in adults? What dose will they be given? So will those who have passed it? Can it overlap with others?

First of all, the regulatory agencies must pronounce themselves: from the Ministry of Health insist that in this matter, as in all cases, they will go hand in hand with the European Medicines Agency (EMA), whose pronouncement on pediatric vaccine “may be produced shortly”, as the head of the department slipped this week, Carolina Darias.

At the moment Andalusian has already put date at the start of the pediatric vaccination campaign against covid: After initially calculating the end of October, you have postponed your estimate to beginnings of November, when it trusts that the EMA will respond to the authorization that Pfizer has asked this Friday – a week ago it requested it from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – to use its drug in children from 5 to 11 years.

As a backdrop, the debate over whether it is ethical to vaccinate children when most of the planet has not yet received a first dose and, above all, if the benefits of vaccinating them against a disease that are mild or asymptomatic in the vast majority of cases outweigh the risks.

THE MILLION’S QUESTION

The results of the tests of the pfizer vaccine on under 12 to couldn’t have been more encouraging: adverse effects seen in children are the same as in adults -pain at the injection site, malaise, fever …-, or “even milder and less frequent”, and also immunogenicity -that is, the ability to generate antibodies- is similar.

As he explains to Efe Manuel Gijn, one of the researchers from Hospital Doce de Octubre participating in the simultaneous trial that the company launched in May in 100 centers in Spain, Poland, Finland and the United States in almost 600 children from six months to 12 years to test its vaccine.

Despite the good results reported by the pharmacist, The question now is whether the regulatory agencies will recommend it because the benefit is greater than the risk.. “It is the million dollar question,” says the pediatrician.

“If with the vaccination of the children or a part of them, we manage to give them some protection and that they return to the normality that they had before, it is a gigantic benefit that we can offer them, and I believe that there the balance of the benefit over the risk can be decided in favor of profit, “he argues.

NOW IT’S TIME TO PROTECT THE SMALLEST

The individual benefit may be virtually non-existent, but Manuel Franco, epidemiologist and professor at the Universidad de Alcal de Madrid and the Johns Hopkins University, emphasizes the need to avoid by all means that their educational process is interrupted or disrupted as has happened the last two years.

Without forgetting that children are needed to achieve the desired group protection, since the more than 5 million children under 12 years of age represent 11 percent of the population. “Now it’s time to protect the little ones and we want them to contribute to that goal,” adds the member of the Spanish Society of Public Health and Health Administration (Sespas).

The Spanish Pediatric Association support the vaccination of minors if it is so decided because they are always “in favor of any preventive method, especially if it is a vaccine,” Francisco Álvarez, the spokesman for its Vaccine Committee (CAV-AEP), highlights to Efe.

“That the disease is mild in children? Yes, but the data from the Carlos III Health Institute tell us that Since June of last year, 16 children under the age of 10 have died and 176 have been admitted to the ICU“, he argues.

In addition to the weight of the pandemic, he believes that it must be taken into account that the virus “He only circulates where they leave him, and where they leave him is among those who are not vaccinated”, which are now those under 12 years of age and a part of the 20-40 age bracket, where the 80% that have already been exceeded by the rest of the age groups has not been reached.

Much was said at the beginning of cross immunity that exposure to other viruses could generate the smallest ones to protect themselves from Sars-Cov-2 but, clarifies Álvarez, it is only “a theory, and there are many theories -also the opposite- to check “.

Others prefer to wait for an opinion: the Spanish Association of Vaccination (AEV), one of those who have advised the Ministry in the preparation of the Strategy, considers that it is not yet the time to talk about pediatric vaccines.

“It is a debate that cannot be raised because until the tests that allow that indication are there, we cannot do anything,” its president, Ams Garca Rojas, tells Efe. And, if it arrives, “the recommendation to vaccinate children will depend a lot on the weight that the pandemic has at that time,” he adds.

How to be the covid vaccine for children?

If it comes true how to be the covid vaccine for children? Well, just like in adults: two punctures 21 days apart, with the dose difference being three to ten times less -depending on age and weight- than that of the elderly, which is 30 micrograms.

For the rest, the same protocol would be maintained, says Álvarez, also for those who have had the disease, who will only receive one injection.

Can they overlap with other vaccines?

“They could match without problem”, guarantees the pediatrician, who explains that if they finally choose to separate them, it is “simply so that the side effects are not added and they are well distinguished”.

Also can be combined with the flu, as many communities want to do with those over 70 who are going to be given an additional dose. The Vaccine Advisory Committee of the AEP has recently called for the first time universal childhood influenza vaccination in children between 6 and 59 months.

Where will children be vaccinated?

“Each community will have to organize and decide whether to be in the usual vaccines, in health centers, in schools… It will be up to them to decide what to do, but all chances are going to be good. “

The coordinator of the CAV-AEP dares to predict the success of the pediatric campaign against covid: “at those ages we have wonderful coverage with the vaccines of the normal calendar, so it is to be assumed that we will have the same success.”

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