Covid vaccines, Menichetti: “Evaluating the risks and benefits for children”

On anti-covid vaccines in Italy “we must be optimistic and at the same time cautious in extending vaccinations to the younger groups, and especially on children, I would be cautious because the benefit / risk ratio is much less evident”. Virologist Francesco Menichetti, head of infectious diseases at the Pisa hospital, says this to Adnkrons Health, on the eve of the possible green light from the European drug agency Ema to the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for the age group 12-15 years. What could be the risk? “More than placing the emphasis on the risks that – recalls Menichetti – in any case came out of vaccinating (they did not emerge from the registration studies but from that phase called post marketing surveillance, that is, from the observation of vaccinated people, see the case of thrombotic phenomena ), we must think that the potential risk of a relatively new vaccine accepts it by virtue of a benefit that is very substantial. And it is so in the more advanced age group. But as you go down with age – recalls the virologist – this benefit is reduced. For this I say we reflect. In vaccinating the youngest there is certainly the advantage offered by this potential reduction in the circulation of the virus, but I would say ‘let’s think about it again’ “. What if you were a parent? “I would be more reflective. I do not want to say ‘no’ but prudence, which is valid in all senses: we must derive the greatest benefit by taking the least risk”, he reiterates. As for the green light coming from EMA for 12-15 year olds, Menichetti recalls that “those are authorizations deriving from trials of the pharmaceutical industry which, rightly, tries to produce data on the efficacy of its vaccine. Then on the vaccination policy. – he adds – I repeat: if we go straight to herd immunity it is clear that we must extend. But given how it is going – concludes Menichetti – I would dedicate myself more to refining the older and more fragile decades “.

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