Baby Soren (7 months old) receives the first dose of vaccine in the COVID-19 vaccine trial led by Pfizer-BioNTech for young children – Photo: ABC NEWS
Vaccinating children will expand the number of people protected by vaccines in the community and make schools safer, thereby enabling children to go to school in person instead of learning online with many shortcomings.
Most recently, China’s Sinovac biotechnology company has begun a global phase 3 trial of a COVID-19 vaccine for children and adolescents (from 6 months to 17 years old). The company’s announcement said the trial will recruit 16,000 volunteers in Chile, the Philippines, Malaysia, Kenya and South Africa.
Meanwhile, a source from Reuters news agency revealed that Pfizer (USA) pharmaceutical company has prepared documents to be ready to apply for an emergency use license of its COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year olds in the coming year. later this month in the US, after completing a clinical trial with volunteers in this age group. Test results with children from 2 to 5 years old will also be available not long after that.
Pfizer’s partner, BioNTech (Germany), said in Der Spiegel magazine that in the next few weeks the company will provide the results of the COVID-19 vaccine trial in children aged 5-11 years old to the authorities. worldwide to apply for a global license for this vaccine. In addition, the company will apply for a license to use the vaccine for children from 6 months to 2 years old at the end of the year.
With Moderna (USA), from March 2021, the company has recruited 6,795 volunteers under 12 years old to test the vaccine. The volunteers were divided into three age groups: 6 – 11 years old (expected to complete the trial by the end of 2021), 6 months to 5 years old (to be completed in early 2022), the other group were children under 6 months old. Moderna’s vaccine has been approved for use in children 12 years of age and older in some countries.
The Cuban government has also implemented self-developed vaccines for children from 2 years old from September 6, aiming to restore direct teaching in schools in October or November to ensure the right to study. exercise – a legitimate right of the child in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child United Nations.
Needed but not urgent
Recently, the Thai government said it would spend 4.8 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to vaccinate students 12-17 years old with the condition that parents must agree to vaccinate, amid many calls for Call for school safety. The story in Thailand raises the question of whether it is urgent to vaccinate children?
The statistics of cases around the world after nearly 2 years of the appearance of the COVID-19 epidemic show that the rate of infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus but without symptoms and self-healing is 80%. In 20% of people with symptoms, 15% have severe symptoms requiring hospitalization and the remaining 5% are at risk of death. Compared to all those infected, the overall mortality rate from COVID-19 ranges from 0.5 to 2%.
However, there are differences in the severity of COVID-19 infection in children and adults. According to statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 79% of COVID-19-related deaths since the end of September 2020 have been in people 65 years of age and older. According to the US CDC, only 1 in 10,000 children aged 0-14 die from this disease. If you consider the child mortality rate from COVID-19 for the entire population in the US, it is significantly lower.
Similarly, the journal Nature at the end of July 2021 published a study in the UK showing that the mortality rate from COVID-19 in people under 18 years old from March 2020 to February 2021 was 2 people per 1 million people. This rate is much lower than the normal rate of death from COVID-19 in the population (all ages) which is about 1% (ranges from 0.5 to 2%). Thus, the danger of COVID-19 is 10,000 times milder in children than in children with adults.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also confirmed that children and adolescents have only mild COVID-19 illness compared to adults, so vaccination for children is not as urgent as it is for the elderly, people with chronic diseases and healthcare workers.
In the webinar taking place on the evening of September 11 with the topic “Understanding child psychology to accompany each other during the COVID-19 epidemic”, Dr. Dinh Xuan Anh Tuan (Cochin Hospital, Paris) said the risk of Severe illness and mortality in children is extremely low compared to adults, priority should be given to COVID-19 vaccination only for children with underlying medical conditions, vulnerable immune system.
“When there are enough vaccines and if all adults, people with underlying diseases, and other priority subjects have been vaccinated, they can think about vaccinating children. Vaccinating children is necessary, but it’s still not enough. It’s not a matter of priority,” said Dr. Tuan.