A government advisory committee recommended applying the Pfizer vaccine to children 12 years and older, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week authorized its use to be extended to that age group.
Children 12 and older can now be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the United States, allowing parents and schools to decrease their precautions against the pandemic and bring the country closer to its goal of controlling the coronavirus.
Aspects to be known:
The vaccines are the same as for adults: Yes. The doses and application periods are the same; after the first inoculation the second is put in three weeks later.
Where children can be inoculated: Pharmacies, state sites, and other places that are already giving Pfizer vaccines to teens 16 and older should have the capacity to give people of all authorized ages, in most cases. cases.
School districts are also planning to organize vaccination clinics to accelerate the campaign. And since parents may feel more comfortable with their pediatricians and GPs, health authorities are working to make inoculations widely available in private practices.
Children need a guardian: Parental consent will be required, although the format for obtaining it may vary.
For vaccination in schools, for example, parents could consent by signing a form, said Dr. Nirav Sha, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. .
How the vaccine was tested for children: Pfizer tested the safety and efficacy of its inoculation in about 44,000 people aged 16 and over in the study of the last phase of its vaccine. The study later included about 2,200 children between the ages of 12 and 15 to detect any possible differences in dose performance in that age group.
None of the children who received true vaccines in the study developed COVID-19, compared to 16 who received placebos. This confirmed a previous finding among adults that the doses are highly effective.
The children were followed for two months after the second dose was given as part of the study.
Dr. Sharon Nachman, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, said there is no reason why the inoculations were less effective or had unique safety concerns in children compared to adults.
Side Effects: The ordinary side effects were similar to those experienced by adults, and included fatigue, headache, muscle pain, and fever. Except for pain in the arm where the vaccine was injected, the effects were more likely to show up after the second dose.
Dr. Michael Smith, medical director of the Duke Children’s Health Center’s Infectious Disease Clinic, noted that younger people tend to have stronger immune systems that respond better to vaccines. That explains why side effects were more common in the 12-15-year-old age group than in adults, he added.
“You need to find the dose that is sufficient to generate a good immune response without many side effects,” Smith said.
Why children should be vaccinated: Although children are much less likely to become seriously ill if infected, health authorities say the risk cannot be completely ruled out.