What the Scientific Evidence Says About Pediatric Covid-19 Vaccination

After the arrival in our country of the first shipment of pediatric vaccines against covid-19, this Wednesday, the administration of the first dose will begin in children from 5 to 11 years old in the different autonomous communities. THE vaccination will start with the smallest most at risk and the oldest cohorts.

It all started in late November, when the European Medicines Agency (EMA) supported the extension of the license on the mainland of pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech for the use of its guideline in this population segment. On December 7, the Public Health Commission (CSP) of the Spanish National Health System approved this procedure.

Although the research to make available vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 has been rapid, the development of compounds adapted to the infant population has not been a priority, given the lower impact on this population.

While research to provide vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 It has been rapid, the development of compounds adapted to the infant population has not been a priority given the minor impact on this population. However, minors are part of the contagion stream.

Infection in children is usually mild, even in neonates, and has very low mortality, but with some serious cases. In general, they are infected as adults – because they are less contagious – and outside the school environment. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 10 deaths in Spain in children under 10 years of age and more than 180 pediatric ICU admissions.

“The individual benefit for children is very low, but not zero”, he explains to SINC Roi Pineiro, Head of the Pediatrics Service at the Hospital General Universitário de Villalba. “The burden of disease justifies the vaccine. There are other pathologies against which we are already vaccinating, whose incidence of severe cases is even lower than in covid-19”.

In this context, Spanish Association of Pediatrics of Primary Care (AEPap) highlights the importance of this vaccination to protect children, especially those who have Risk factors. Although the pediatric population presents less severe symptoms than other age groups, there are cases where it is especially important to immunize.

The individual benefit for children is very small, but not zero. The burden of your illness justifies the vaccine. There are other pathologies against which we are already vaccinating, whose incidence of severe cases is even lower than in covid-19

Roi Piñeiro (AEP)

“This wide range of manifestations of the infection has raised doubts in some parents, who question the convenience or not of vaccination”, he emphasizes. Pedro Gorrotxategi, vice president of AEPap. “But vaccination in this age group is important and necessary.”

Effectiveness and side effects

This same week, the Vaccine Advisory Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) and the Spanish Society of Pediatric Infectology (SEIP) they published a document which reviews the available scientific evidence on pediatric vaccination against covid-19 in Spain. The report concludes that vaccination is the most effective measure to combat the current pandemic.

“Non-pharmacological measures – how physical distance and the hygiene respiratory and contact – they contribute to controlling the spread of the infection, but some of them cannot be maintained indefinitely without affecting the desired normality”, he says.

Clinical trials carried out at this age have shown that vaccination is effective and safe. The main side effects are the usual ones: fever, chills, tiredness, headache and myalgia

Likewise, the study emphasizes that clinical tests performed at this age showed that vaccination is effective and has a favorable security profile. the main secundary effects The usual ones are: fever, chills, tiredness, headache and myalgia.

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By Piñeiro, also a member of Medicines Committee of the AEP, “the benefit/risk ratio of the vaccine is favourable. The risk of serious negative effects is less than the possible complications that can arise in case of illness. More than five million doses have been administered to children aged 5 to 11 years in other countries and so far has not been registered. no severe cases of myocarditis”.

In addition, it should be considered that vaccination in children would reduce the burden of disease in this age group – currently the one with the highest incidence of more than 200 boxes per 100,000-, and the side consequences of the pandemic in children and adolescents, such as lack of regularity in schooling and mental health disorders.

“It should also be taken into account that the circulation of the virus facilitated by cohorts of the unvaccinated population, such as children, could facilitate the selection of variants for which current vaccines could be less effective”, underlines the communication.

When adolescents aged between 12 and 18 years were vaccinated, the incidence in this age group decreased. Now, the same is expected to happen between 5 and 11 years old, the most affected population at the moment

Pedro Gorrotxategi (AEPap)

About the projections for the coming months, Gorrotxategi guarantees that “when teenagers between 12 and 18 years old were vaccinated, the incidence in this age group decreased, and now the same should happen between 5 and 11 years old, the population most affected in this time”.

Inform better than recommend

Covid-19 vaccine has been proven effective and safe in minors, so much in kids What teenagers, although it should always be prioritized in adults and populations at higher risk. At the very least, it is a decision that must be made based on the epidemiological situation and the contribution to to control infection in the community.

“Child vaccination can serve as protection not only for individuals, but also for vulnerable people in their environment”, he says. Francisco Alvarez Garcia, Pediatrician of Primary Care at the Llanera Health Center (Asturias) and coordinator of the Consultative Committee on Vaccines of the AEP, in statements to COVID-19 Vaccine Media HUB.

“The right to individual protection of children against a disease is recommended, which even if mild in general can cause it seriously, as well as supporting the maintenance of safe educational spaces that allow for a normalization of schooling, interpersonal relationships and the psycho-emotional well-being of these children”, he adds.

The vaccine is indicated by the right to individual protection of children against a disease, which even if it is mild, in general can be serious.

Francisco Álvarez García, pediatrician

Of course, for Piñeiro “it’s better report what to recommend, because the timing a health care provider recommends influences parents. And all decisions must be respected. We must alert families about the existence of the vaccine, its effectiveness and possible side effects, as well as the low incidence of the disease in children and the low risk of complications”.

“Each vaccinated child will take us a little closer to the end of the pandemic, at least as we know it. The last step is not the eradication of the coronavirus, but rather learning to live with this virus without collapsing the health system”, concludes the pediatrician.


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