• Sun. Oct 17th, 2021

Covid, vaccine for children: when and why?

Byeditorial

May 7, 2021

Covid vaccines for children, when and why? What data do we have regarding efficacy and safety in children? Is it really useful to vaccinate children and adolescents, since the disease is rarely serious in these age groups? Answering the most frequent questions about the possibility of vaccinating children against Covid 19 is the order of doctors through ‘Dottoremaeveroche’, the anti-fake news site of the National Federation of Orders of Surgeons and Dentists (Fnomceo). “All vaccines against Covid-19 authorized to date – the doctors recall – have been approved for administration to people over the age of 18. An exception is the Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine, whose use in the age group between 16 and 18 years old, it has been approved by the main regulatory agencies, including the Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa) and the Fda, the body that regulates the approval of medicines in the United States “. But are approved vaccines safe when used in children? “The pediatric population – reads the Fnomceo portal – is a heterogeneous population, with physiological characteristics and development needs distinct not only from those of the adult population, but also different according to the various age groups. As Beth Thielen pointed out. , a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota, when it comes to evaluating a vaccine (and any drug in general) on children, we tend to be much more cautious to avoid exposing little ones to unnecessary risks. ” “Before starting the studies on children and adolescents it was necessary to carry out them on people of adult age and so it was done. The studies therefore started later – explains Fnomceo – and this is the reason why we still do not have enough data on the ‘efficacy and safety of the use of vaccines for Covid-19 in pediatric age “.” The only data currently available on the efficacy and safety of a vaccine for Covid-19 in children and adolescents – clarify the experts on’ Dottoremaeveroche ‘- are those advanced to regulatory agencies by Pfizer / BioNTech following clinical studies carried out in the age group between 12 and 15. These – explain the doctors – are data not yet published in scientific journals: the approval process and publication of such complex documents is often quite long. Given the importance of the issue, however, the manufacturing company did not wait for official publication and regulatory agencies approving for emergency use. The data anticipated by the manufacturer – reports the Fnomceo website – tell us that the vaccine was administered to 1,131 children and that none of them got sick from Covid-19. In contrast, 18 cases of Covid-19 occurred among the 1,129 of their peers who were given an injection of an inert substance (placebo). The results are certainly encouraging. “So why not vaccinate even the youngest children?” At the moment, several studies are underway also in the lower age groups. Pfizer / BioNTech launched clinical trials on children aged between 6 months and 12 years in March 2021: in the event that the results are available in the second half of this year, Fnomceo clarifies – the company plans to obtain authorization for the use of its vaccine in children under the age of 12 as early as 2022. Even the modern pharmaceutical company – the specialists recall – started clinical trials (project called KidCove) about a month ago, but the first data are expected only in 2023 “But is it really necessary to vaccinate children against Covid-19?” Although they are considered to be at low risk of developing severe forms of Covid-19, even children and adolescents – remember the doctors – can transmit the virus and therefore contribute to the spread of the infection . If it is possible that in the early stages of the pandemic the number of positives in the pediatric population (where asymptomatic forms of the disease are more common) was underestimated, more recently it has been shown – it is emphasized on the Fnomceo portal – that children do not they are more protected than adults from the infection of SARS-CoV-2 and that they could be potential spreaders as much as their parents, especially in the home setting. The risks of long-term effects should not be underestimated – the experts then underline – “. And in any case, even children can be seriously affected by Covid.” A European study published in June last year in the scientific journal The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health – reads the Fnomceo website – has shown that, although Covid-19 goes almost unnoticed in the majority of the pediatric population, a small percentage (8%) of infected children develop a form of the disease that requires hospitalization in hospital and sometimes even the use of mechanical ventilation. Even from the data collected in Italy – recalls the portal – it emerged that children tend to contract mild forms of Covid-19, but the very low age (less than a year) and the presence of other pre-existing pathologies in the little patient increase the risk of develop serious complications from SarS-CoV-2 which, in rare cases, can even lead to death “.” It would therefore be even more desirable to have an effective and above all safe vaccine for Covid-19 in children to protect the most vulnerable from the risk of get seriously ill “. When?” The most optimistic forecasts set next autumn the time when the first vaccines to be used on children and adolescents will be available, a goal that among other things – the doctors conclude – would also have a positive impact on safe reopening of schools “.