Polls suggest some parents are reluctant to vaccinate their young children against COVID-19, but the benefits outweigh the risks, according to several infectious disease doctors at Axios.

The last: The FDA and CDC may soon approve Pfizer’s low-dose vaccine for this age group, with Moderna set to seek approval as well. NIAID director Anthony Fauci said he was “excited” by the possibility of extending possible protection to 28 million additional Americans.

  • “If you go around pediatric hospitals across the country, you see that many beds, unfortunately, are occupied by children in serious condition,” Fauci told Axios.
  • The highly transmissible Delta variant changed the trajectory of the pandemic: more people – including children – began to be infected. Children account for 16.5% of cases, with around 6 million infections and 700 deaths.
  • “There are many, many infections with SARS-CoV-2 [in kids] over there, ”says Rohan Hazra, acting director of the extramural research division of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. vaccine argument.

Yes, but: Public health efforts to persuade Americans to get vaccinated have run into the wrong messages.

  • A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that about 3 in 10 parents say they “definitely won’t” get a vaccine for their children aged 5 to 11.
  • An Axios / Ipsos coronavirus index at the end of September found that parents were divided (44% likely / 42% unlikely) in allowing their children aged 5 to 11 to be vaccinated.

Risks related to vaccines are monitored closely by the FDA and CDC, say Fauci and others. Test data revealed that Pfizer’s COVID shot so far shows it carries very low risks.

  • If there were to be serious side effects from a vaccine in young children, “usually you would now see some signal, in animal studies and in other age groups. … There is no has had no such thing, to my knowledge, ”says Amesh Adalja, senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Between the lines: In general, the younger the person, the less likely there are severe symptoms of a COVID-19 infection.

  • However, while most children do not have severe symptoms, “we cannot predict who will develop severe COVID, MIS-C, or long COVID. The immunology of the entire spectrum of COVID in children does not exist. ‘is not well defined, “says Danilo Buonsenso, a pediatrician at Gemelli University Hospital in Rome, who has published articles on COVID.
  • “One thing we don’t know is what the long-term effects are of a virus that enters your body and has the ability to induce aberrant inflammatory and immunological responses,” says Fauci.
  • Hazra, who is researching MIS-C and the longest COVID in children, tells Axios that they are taking a close look at the “big and big question” of how much of these illnesses in children come from the SARS-virus. CoV-2 and how many are from other pandemic stressors. This will require large cohort studies on long-term effects.
  • “It’s really, really difficult because the pandemic itself has had such an impact on children. So when we talk about difficulty concentrating, pain, brain fog, fatigue, anxiety – these real symptoms are potentially part of a long COVID.… But we need to determine to what extent this is the result of infection, ”Hazra said.

What they say : “COVID-19 disrupts the lives of children. And the more immune the population, the better,” says Adalja.

  • “It benefits every child because they will no longer be held hostage by COVID. They will no longer be quarantined due to exposure. They will not be stuck on virtual learning,” says Adalja.
  • “This is something that makes them individually more resilient to the virus, and their schools and organizations and the activities of which they are a part more resilient to the virus,” he adds.
  • Buonsenso says this return to normal will also benefit children’s mental health. “I definitely suggest vaccinations to all age groups, and with equitable distribution around the world, without neglecting low-income countries.”
  • Not only could the vaccination help prevent serious illness or long-term symptoms, it could also “indirectly help protect those under 5, who may still have severe COVID,” Buonsenso points out.

Go further: Fauci: “I would vaccinate them in a second”

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