Covid-19 vaccines for children: Why data from Pfizer and Moderna support them
So when officials meet, they will evaluate a complex set of factors. What is the probability that a child will be infected with covid? How much protection does a vaccine provide? What are the possible symptoms and complications that children face from taking it?
Considering all of these questions, Blumberg says, “it’s clear that the benefits outweigh the risks for this age group.”
In fact, test and analysis data show that in almost every covid scenario, vaccinating children can prevent severe infection and death, with minimal risk.
What the studies have found
Pfizer’s study, which began in March 2021, took nearly 2,300 children and gave two-thirds of them a two-dose vaccination regimen, while others received a placebo. Shots were given 21 days apart and, especially, in a shorter dose than in older people – a third of the cost of the vaccine.
From the study, three vaccinated children were covered with covid, while there were 16 cases in the placebo group — almost 91% effective. Side effects are more common and often mild, and myocarditis, the inflammation of the heart that is seen as a rare side effect and likely to cause the most anxiety, is not even seen (the rate of adults running at nearly seven per million, is that 2,300 is a very small sample size).
Moderna, while, said on Monday that its studies in children under 12 — with two shots at half the adult dose given at 28-day intervals — also showed strong results. That vaccine cannot be discussed when the FDA meets, and will have to go through the same approval process that Pfizer currently goes through before it can be given to children.
The reason is that these studies show that vaccinations can reduce the chance of children with symptomatic covid infection and hospitalization in line with adult numbers — and without known complications.
Will vaccinating children help curb the pandemic?
Vaccination isn’t just about individual benefits, though, even if it’s clearly important. On a broader level, says computational epidemiologist Maimuna Majumder, vaccinating children could have an impact on the form of the pandemic itself.
“Something that makes school-age children –– especially young children –– remarkable is not only the number of contacts they have in a day but also the diversity of groups in age of contacts, ”said Majumder, who is a faculty member at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.“ They interact with their school-age peers and extracurriculars, but they also interact with seniors who teachers and caregivers, as well as their families. “