Several countries have begun vaccinating children and adolescents under the age of 18. In the U.S., 30 percent of the 12-15 age group has received at least the first dose and 41.3 percent of children between the ages of 16 and 17 . Several countries in Europe, including Denmark, vaccinate 16- and 17-year-olds with Pfizer’s coronary vaccine. Several countries are now considering starting with children between the ages of 12 and 15, after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave the green light in late May to use the Pfizer vaccine on 12-15-year-olds. Pfizer and Moderna are now testing the coronary vaccine on children up to six months old, and the result will likely be clear later this fall or in the new year, according to CNN.
In Norway, on the other hand, it is still uncertain whether children up to the age of 12 should be vaccinated. In this country, people are so far only vaccinated until the age of 18, with the exception of a few children and adolescents at risk. The Pfizer vaccine has been offered to young people aged 16 and 17 with serious illness for some time. After the summer, FHI will start a study on vaccination offers for all children up to 12 years.
Children can also get sick or die from the coronavirus, although it is much rarer than in adults, according to CNN. In addition, the coronavirus carries the risk of long-term side effects – such as “long-covid”. So why not just give kids the vaccine? And why does it take so long?
Margrethe Greve-Isdahl, chief physician at FHI, says that coronary vaccination of children and adolescents requires a separate assessment of benefit-disadvantage.
“Benefits of vaccinating 12-15-year-olds include that they are also protected against serious illness, although it is rare, and that the immunity of the population is higher, so that the need for measures that also affect children and young people are being reduced, “she says.
Disadvantages are that they can have side effects after vaccination – both those that are common and well-known, such as headaches, fever, lethargy and body aches, but also that there may be a small risk of someone having rare but serious side effects. effects may be experienced, therefore it is important that a separate assessment be made for vaccination as the risk of serious coronavirus disease is small at this age.
She says the disease burden for children and young people is generally low
– When we assess coronary vaccination for children and adolescents, we see the same principles as we do differently for vaccination of children, including the burden of disease. It is generally very low for children when it comes to covid-19, and the very few who are at increased risk already have an offer, says Greve-Isdahl.
In its assessment, the National Institute of Public Health will look at the experiences from other countries that vaccinate children.
– What we have seen so far is that it can be a little more common in children between 12 and 15 years with the common side effects such as fever, malaise and pain in the body after the second dose of Pfizer coronary vaccine than we see to other vaccines against other diseases given in old age. However, the side effects are short-lived, says Greve-Isdahl.
Important to consider the correct dose
According to CNN, children may need different doses.
“What you see in a child who is six months old may differ from what you see in a child who is three years old against a child who is 8 years old, or against a young person who is 13 or 14 years old,” says Dr. . Chip Walter, pediatrician at Duke University for CNN.
Finding the right dose for children can take time. If you give too little, the child will not get enough immune response against the virus. Then give them a vaccine with potential side effects that have little or no effect. If you give the children too much, the children can have unfortunate side effects.
“You get a good immune response, but you activate unnecessary things like fever, arm pain, fatigue and irritation,” says Dr. Buddy Creech, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University and one of the leading researchers at Modernas Covid. 19 vaccines for children for CNN.
Make sure that the disease does not get worse
Another reason why the vaccination of children is slow is that the companies want to ensure that the vaccine does not aggravate a rare but serious disease post-Covid-19 called MIS-C in children. In some cases, it has led to neurological abnormalities and deaths.
– You want to make sure that the vaccine does not make it worse. It can take a long time to convince both companies and regulators that such phenomena do not occur. ”Says Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccinologist and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine against CNN.
On the other hand, it has been seen that a very small number of children have contracted this inflammatory disease.
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