Child Vaccination: Community Benefits, Parental Concerns and Contraindications
The most common side effects and one big risk
The vaccination campaign against him coronavirus and especially in the middle of the new one Omicron mutation which has brought the planet to its knees, is perhaps the only shield against the virus that now counts 3 years in our lives. Vaccination of the population (adult and juvenile) along with self-protection measures has been a key part of the planning of the health authorities for months.
The Omicron mutation has now dominated in Greece with the vertical the launch of the cases and the 35.580 positive incidents on 30/12/2021 to speak for themselves.
The discussion has now been moved to the direct vaccination of children of all ages. In Greece, from December 15, the platform for dating children from 5 to 11 years old has been open, with the response from the first day being very large. On the first day alone, 30.000 children were scheduled to be vaccinated against coronavirus. On 28/12 the platform could accept another 120.000 appointments for children of this age.
The most common side effects and one big risk
The side effects of vaccines in children do not differ much from those that occur in adults, depending of course on the formulation.
At the age of 5-11 years and always according to the president of the National Vaccination Committee, Maria Theodoridou, there are 5 common side effects.
pain at the injection site
Ms. Theodoridou, using available data from the US CDC, stated that: "more than 10 million Pfizer / Biontech vaccines were given to children aged 7,1-5 in the United States by December 11, and only 8 cases of myocarditis.
Specifically, 7.141.428 doses of Pfizer vaccine were administered to children aged 5-11 years and 3.233 reports were recorded. The average age was 9 years and by gender was about half and half. 97% experienced non-serious adverse reactions. Less than 10% of children were absent from school, and less than 1% sought medical advice. Out of a total of 7.141.428, 8 cases met the definition of myocarditis, 4 in boys and 4 in girls, while six of these cases occurred during the second dose of the vaccine.».
He concluded: "The incidence of about one in a million of myocarditis confirms that this side effect is present, but rare and does not affect the vaccination of children. "None of the side effects escaped those recorded during the clinical trials."
Speaking to ERT, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Professor Mariza Tsolia stressed: "Let's hurry to vaccinate young children as we did with teenagers." At the same time, answering a TV actress' question, why a child should be vaccinated since no serious diseases are encountered at a young age, he pointed out that "we do not have serious illnesses but since the beginning of the year we have treated more than 1.600 children across the country. 1% of cases are hospitalized. "Some also enter the intensive care unit."
Benefits for the community from vaccinating children
It is evident from the available data that as much the higher the vaccine coverage the lower the incidence of coronavirus, with the largest decrease occurring in the age group of 17 years, where the percentage of vaccination coverage reaches approximately 47,8%.
According to EODY, during the first period of the year we passed (January 2021- August 2021) there was an increase in the incidence of the disease COVID-19 depending on the age of the children, an increase which always concerns children over 4 years old.
In July 2021 the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against coronavirus was approved and started to be administered in our country for children and adolescents in the age group of 12-17 years. From next September until December 2021, the effects of the disease on children over 12 years old have a declining trend. In addition, there is a negative correlation between children's vaccination coverage and the incidence of the disease COVID-19, and in particular, as vaccine coverage increases, the incidence of the disease decreases, with the largest decrease occurring in the 17-year-old age group, where the vaccination coverage rate reaches approximately 47,8%.
According to the data published by EODY in 2020, there were a total of 4.300 cases among children aged 13-17, of which 3 children needed intubation and 3 deaths occurred. In the year 2021, there were 73.479 cases in this age group, of which only 3,2% (2.344 cases) concerned vaccinated children and the remaining 96,8% (71.135 cases) unvaccinated children, while there were 8 intubations exclusively in unvaccinated children. children.
Vaccinated people in this age group received only 3 out of a total of 516 hospitalizations (0,58% of the total hospitalizations) compared to 513 hospitalizations in unvaccinated children, while no deaths occurred in the total 2.344 cases of vaccinated children.
The reasons to vaccinate children and the anxious questions of parents
The president of the National Vaccination Committee, Maria Theodoridou, in the briefings of the Ministry of Health has explained several times the reasoning of the health authorities but also the reasons why the National Vaccination Committee proceeded to the unanimous recommendation for the immunization of children through vaccination.
Vaccination of children against coronavirus:
will protect children from infection and its complications
will allow them to attend education and all their activities in the community without hindrance
will reduce the spread of the virus in the environment
will indirectly protect vulnerable people close to children
will contribute significantly to the reduction of virus mutations.
Especially the last point is the most critical since the case of the Omicron mutation and the problems it creates are typical.
Inevitably parents have questions about vaccinating children from the age of 5 years. Schematically these questions are five in number and the experts answer:
The question "Why should I vaccinate my child, since the disease at his age is mild?Is heard very often by parents. Ms. Theodoridou states: "The disease, although from the beginning it was and remains mild without having a different clinical expression over time, but there are risks, small but real. Small but real is the risk of the rare manifestation of the multiorgan, multisystemic inflammatory syndrome, known as MIS-C, which occurs of course once in 1 cases in children, but it is a syndrome that suffers and can have a serious and serious outcome. The professor explained. Also, pediatricians are particularly concerned about the persistence of symptoms after illness, for many weeks (longcovid) ".
Parents also ask if children with allergies can be vaccinated. "Common allergies to food, drugs, environmental allergens, dyes, insect bites are not contraindications for vaccination of children or adults. "Vaccination is contraindicated in rare cases of allergy to the components of mRNA vaccines (polyethylene glycol Peg and polysorbate 80)", the Commission replies. In fact, the instructions emphasize that children with a history of allergies remain in the vaccination center for follow-up after the vaccination for 30 minutes ".
Another Anxiety about whether the mRNA vaccine can cause heart damage. Indeed, in rare cases, m-RNA vaccines have been associated with inflammation of the myocardium or pericardium, but it has been suggested that Covid disease causes a multiplicity of cases of myocarditis. These manifestations are more common in boys aged 12 to 29 years and occur a few days after the second dose of the vaccine. In most cases, the disease is self-limiting. The symptoms are: chest pain, difficulty breathing and palpitations.
Fear of side effects, however, is more general with many parents worrying about problems that may occur in children years after they have been vaccinated.. Commission experts say most side effects of the vaccine occur in the first few weeks after administration. The mRNA vaccines are destroyed by the body within hours, after giving the "message" for the production of antibodies. No component of the vaccine accumulates in the body to bind to long-term side effects.
Finally several parents wonder if the vaccine affects the fertility or menstrual cycle of adolescents. Experts say no, explaining that the mRNA vaccine molecule is destroyed as soon as it completes its mission in the body and is eliminated from the body. There is no biological link between vaccine and fertility and no harmful effect of the vaccine on male and female fertility has been found.
Fauci: "In the next two months, the approval for the vaccination of children under 5 years old"
The leading US epidemiologist Anthony Fauci optimistic about vaccine approval for children under 5. stated in CNN on Wednesday (29/12) that it will take "at least two months" for a vaccine against Covid-19 for children under 5 years.
The countries that vaccinate children from the age of 5 and those that examine it
Apart from Greece, there are several countries that have launched the immunization campaign for children aged 5-11. Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Hungary are among the countries that are expanding their vaccination campaign to younger children, with doctors reporting a strong response from parents.
Denmark, where there is an increase in cases attributed to the high-transmissibility variant Omicron, and some parts of Austria have started vaccinating younger children as early as November.
The United States, on the other hand, was the first major country to do so and has so far vaccinated more than five million children between the ages of five and 11.
At France, the vaccine has been approved for ages 5-11 who are at risk of becoming seriously ill, but the government has announced that it is considering extending the measure to all children on a voluntary basis.
The Belgium awaits the recommendation from the national health committee as the measure takes effect around the new year.
At Switzerland The department has given the green light for the vaccination of children, but the campaign itself will probably start in early January.
The British regulators are under consideration for the approval or not of vaccines for children 5 to 11 years old with the decision to be expected even before Christmas.
Outside Europe, the Canada, The USA and the Israel have approved the vaccination of children of this age. THE ChinaThe ChileThe ArgentinaThe Venezuela and Colombia vaccinate children aged three and over, while the Cuba and Nicaragua from two years.