Why do children need the covid vaccine?

Tuesday’s vote by the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee to recommend a lower dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use authorization for children ages 5 to 11 means the shot could be available as soon as next week, yet only a minority of Parents say they plan to vaccinate their children.

a Kaiser Family Foundation The survey published Thursday found that less than 30 percent of parents between the ages of 5 and 11 plan to vaccinate their children. Another third of parents report that they plan to wait to see how the vaccine works outside of clinical trials, and nearly another third do not plan to vaccinate their children against Covid at all.

But experts say vaccinating children is an important step in helping them get back to normal. However, many acknowledge that a parent’s decision can be difficult, given the newness of the vaccine, as well as the disease’s less serious effects on children than in the elderly.

“We know it’s milder, we know [children] Navigating them is definitely better than older adults,” Dr. Paddy Kreish, MD, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, said. Tell NBC News senior medical correspondent Dr. John Torres on Thursday. But we also know that there is a burden of infection in children. And now we have a tool to prevent that.”

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Last week, Pfizer-BioNTech reported that its vaccine was 91 percent effective against symptomatic diseases in children ages 5 to 11.

We know disease is a problem, nearly two million children [ages 5 to 11] Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the FDA’s advisory panel, said.

He is confident that the answer to this question is “yes”.

Offit was among the 17 members of the advisory panel who voted in favor of licensing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, as was Dr. Amanda Cohn, the CDC’s chief medical officer.

While weighing the benefits and risks of a vaccine during the meeting, Cohen acknowledged the challenges.

“When we’re talking about children, we both don’t accept deaths and serious outcomes in the same way that we accept to some extent in older age groups, but we also don’t accept risks” associated with the vaccine, she said.

Cases are still high among children

National data It shows that new infections peaked in children in early September and have declined since then. According to the latest American Academy of Pediatrics Report, 118,000 cases in children added in the week of October 14, which “is still a very high number of newly diagnosed children.” More than one million pediatric cases have been added over the past six weeks and a quarter of recent infections have been in children.

While national numbers are trending lower, some states, including Colorado, Michigan and Minnesota, are now in the middle of the fall peak. Community transmission also continues high in all fifty states.

“Although numbers are down in many areas – and we are glad to see that – Covid will not go away. It is likely to be one of the viruses that continues to spread,” said Dr. Anna Sick Samuels, associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. , like the flu.” She added that the number of children in hospital was generally proportional to the number of cases in the community.

At Tuesday’s meeting, several committee members emphasized the higher risks associated with the disease compared to other infectious diseases, highlighting the need for widespread vaccination among children.

“We routinely vaccinate against two of the vaccine-preventable diseases that cause far fewer deaths, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions,” Cohen said. “We don’t want children to die even if there are far fewer children than adults and we don’t want them in the intensive care unit.”

Approximately 2,670 children between the ages of 5 and 17 years in the hospital Due to Covid, according to the CDC, and as of May, Covid was the eighth leading cause of the death For children from 5 to 11 years old.

Covid is often compared to the flu, but among children in hospital, it can be more severe.

The average length of stay for children in hospital with influenza was two days versus three days for children with Covid, and those hospitalized with Covid were more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit, Dr Fiona Havers, medical officer in the Viral Disease Division at the CDC, during a presentation to the Food and Drug Administration panel on Tuesday. Just like adults, children with Covid can need oxygen support and even ventilators.

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Sick-Samuels said children who are hospitalized with Covid tend to have underlying illnesses, including obesity and diabetes.

But one complication of Covid appears to be bucking this trend: MIS-C, or pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome. MIS-C is a rare, life-threatening complication of the disease that causes an overactive immune response to attack a child’s body.

more than 5200 Of the 6.2 million American children diagnosed with Covid, they developed MIS-C, and the condition was most common among children ages 6 to 11.

The majority of children who had MIS-C had no pre-existing conditions and were otherwise healthy.

“That way it is random. It can make a previously healthy child very ill,” Sick-Samuels said.

The effects of Covid go beyond disease. She said the developmental well-being of children also needs to be part of the discussion. Vaccinations can help keep children in the school and extracurricular activities that are essential to their development.

Krrish echoed it.

“I think most of us as parents want our kids in school, and we don’t want to have to bring them home to quarantine every two weeks and have a continuous nose test for Covid,” he said. And so having a preventative strategy for this age group is really important. And we want to do it in a safe way. Of course, we want to do it in an efficient way.”

What are the risks of the vaccine?

Expert advisors to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made clear during Tuesday’s meeting that they had not made a decision to lightly recommend the Pfizer COVID vaccine for children, and were carefully considering the risks.

The main concern among FDA advisors was the rare risk of developing an inflammatory heart disease called myocarditis. It has been documented as an uncommon side effect in older age groups, especially males under 30 years of age. No cases of myocarditis were seen in the Pfizer clinical trial among children ages 5 to 11, although the FDA said the trial was not large enough to detect very rare side effects.

Offit, of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, acknowledged that the risk of developing myocarditis after vaccination is on the minds of many parents, but said he is less concerned about the condition of children who have not yet gone through puberty.

“We have this rare known adverse event of myocarditis in older teens and teens, who are using a different formulation of the vaccine,” he said, referring to a lower dose of the vaccine for younger children. “Myocarditis appears to be less common in the 5- to 11-year-old group, and you give a dose of less than 10 milligrams instead of 30 milligrams.”

Myocarditis can also be caused by Covid itself; Center for Disease Control study The publication in September found that children under 16 who contracted Covid were 37 times more likely to develop myocarditis than their uninfected peers. According to Offit, vaccine-induced myocarditis is so different from traditional conditions that it should be called by another name.

“With classic myocarditis, the virus enters and destroys heart cells, but this is not that. It is different clinically and is much milder.”

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