Elias Mosialos “responds” to parents’ hesitations to vaccinate children aged 5-11 against Covid-19

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Answers to Parents’ Concerns – Children have great social interactions and sooner or later most will get stuck

Stresses the need for parents to allay their fears and vaccinate their children aged 5 to 11 against coronavirus, as vaccines are safe and effective, he said. Elias Mosialos, Professor of Health Policy at Imperial College and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). As he explains in a lengthy post on Facebook, “The choice of a parent is not just to vaccinate their child or not. The choice is between a very effective vaccine or the risk of the child getting sick. Some parents will say “my child will not get sick because we are careful, we avoid scheduling and we do tests often”. But how do they know that?

Mr. Mosialos reminds that it has been approved for several months the use of vaccines for children 12-17 years, while there is now a marketing authorization and for children 5-11 years. The first vaccine against Covid-19 to be approved is Pfizer / BioNTech based on the results of a randomized controlled trial that evaluated safety and immune responses.

He thoroughly analyzes that the clinical trial of Pfizer / BioNTech initially compared three doses: 30 micrograms (the dose received by adults), 20 micrograms and 10 micrograms. The dose with 10 micrograms, corresponding to one-third of the adult dose, he had the fewest side effects. At the same time the vaccine was still working strong immune responses at levels achieved with higher doses.

In the next phase, more than 2,200 children aged 5 to 11 years randomly assigned to receive either a 10 microgram dose of the vaccine (two-thirds of participants) or a placebo (one-third of participants). They all did two doses three weeks apart. The children who received the vaccine had similar immune responses to young people aged 16 to 25 years who had received two doses of 30 micrograms.

At the time Pfizer submitted the data to the US FDA for approval, there were not many cases of symptomatic Covid-19 infections in test participants and estimates showed that the vaccine was as effective as 90%. The tests also confirmed that the infections were caused by the Delta variant, which is widely used in our country. Based on these data, the licensing bodies based the decision to approve the use of the vaccine for children.

However, many parents still worried mainly afraid of side effects who hear how it can happen if their children are vaccinated. Regarding this, Mr. Mosialos explains that “most of the children who participated in the clinical trial had no side effects other than some injection site pain. Some showed up fatigue, headaches and / or muscle aches after the second dose (but not after the first dose). Also only the 6% had a fever after the second dose of the vaccine and there have been no cases of severe allergic reaction to the vaccine».

About fear some for the possibility of an unexpected inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), which were observed mainly in young people after the second dose of mRNA vaccine (Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna), Mr. Mosialos states that “most cases were mild and experts reassure parents that children will not have long-term problems “. After all, he emphasizes, “between children aged 5 to 11 years who received the Pfizer vaccine during the clinical trial, there were no cases of myocarditis“, While reminding that” children aged 5-11 years will receive a reduced dose of 10 micrograms and not 30 micrograms like children aged 12-17 years “.

In addition to, the director of the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Walensky reported (in an interview with ABC News) that the CDC has not identified reports and concerns about temporary inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) in the nearly 5 million children in this age group who have been vaccinated. So “the data confirms that vaccines are safe for young children as well.”

Then, Mr. Mosialos added that “the children have great social gatherings and sooner or later most will get stuck. Especially if the Omicron variant prevails, which seems to be very contagious, this will happen sooner than expected with the release of Delta. And they may not even get news of it possible asymptomatic. But this does not mean that a child will not have any problems. Problems with long-term Covid disease have also been reported in some asymptomatic patients.

“So can a parent make the decision not to vaccinate their child?” the professor wonders.

He replies: “Of course, but it is unlikely that a child will get stuck in the long run, unless he and his parents are completely isolated. That is, if deprived of any social contact in order not to receive a safe vaccine “.

On the other hand, “while myocarditis is very uncommon in children, it has been observed to occur more frequently in those who have become seriously ill with Covid-19.” A study published by the CDC and reporting from more than 900 US hospitals shows that 86 children under the age of 16 (between March 2020 and January 2021) were diagnosed with myocarditis among nearly 65,000 children (0.133%) who developed Covid- ous disease. 19. But over the same time period, out of 4 million children who did not catch Covid-19, only 132 developed myocarditis. Thus the risk of myocarditis is more than 30 times higher in pediatric patients with Covid-19.

Beyond that, it was found that Covid-19 patients under 16 years of age had a similar risk of myocarditis as patients over 75 years of age, ie much older than all other age groups. The scientists said that the diagnosis of myocarditis in patients under the age of 16 may represent cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), which usually occurs 2-4 weeks after coronavirus infection and manifests with fever. rash, swollen lymph nodes and conjunctivitis. Cardiovascular complications are seen in some patients, but it is estimated that most children who develop MIS-C will recover without chronic heart disease. However, it is possible for some to suffer from chronic diseases.

Mr. Mosialos concludes by emphasizing that millions of children in the world have been vaccinated against the coronavirus and have not had any problems, while he hastens to mention that many parents are hesitant because are reluctant to recommend vaccines to their doctors. “Medical associations must therefore intensify the information of their members, but also of the parents”, he concludes, emphasizing that “consistency and patience and constant information are required. “People who are hesitant are well-meaning and scared.”

See also: Mosialos for Omicron: We have good indications – In 10-15 days the safe clinical data »

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