The Washington Post: Coronavirus vaccines for adults and teens are obvious. Not so for younger kids.
By Alexandra Ellerbeck
Experts say it’s a no-brainer for adults and adolescents to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
But for younger kids, the case isn’t as clear cut.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized the Pfizer BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for use in children ages 12 to 15, though it could be months before a vaccine is approved for use in children younger than 12. Pfizer has said it could apply for emergency use authorization for vaccines in this younger age group by early fall, and Moderna may be on a similar timeline.
More children have been hospitalized: About 56 out of every 100,000 kids under 4 years old have been hospitalized. For children ages 5 to 17, it’s 35 out of 100,000. There’s some debate, too, over how often covid-19 infections can cause lingering effects in children.
The Pfizer pediatric trial is enrolling 4,600 kids, and Moderna is enrolling 6,750. Although the trials test safety and immune response, those study sizes may not be big enough to catch the type of rare event that occurs 1 in 10,000 times.
“Studies of that size will not be able to completely, 100 percent, rule out rare complications. Even much larger studies, such as those done in adults, would not,” said John Lantos, a bioethicist at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t move ahead with vaccines for children, Lantos said. Instead, it means parents will need to make their own risk-benefit calculation and scientists will need to monitor rare side effects after any emergency use authorization.
Read the full article via The Washington Post
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine at Children's Mercy