CDC expert team approves COVID vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 years

On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fired the starting gun to vaccinate 28 million elementary school-age children across the country with COVID-19 vaccine, recommending that Pfizer and BioNTech be widely used in child doses.

Injection into the forearm Expected to start this week. Pfizer has begun shipping to states and pharmacies across the country, including vials with unique orange caps.

Children between the ages of 5 and 11 will be vaccinated twice-one-third of the dose given to adolescents and adults-once every three weeks.

The CDC estimates that if the vaccine is widely used, 600,000 new coronavirus infections can be prevented between now and March next year, and the current decline in new cases will accelerate.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said she is pleased to extend the protection already enjoyed by 193 million Americans to a group whose lives have been disrupted by the pandemic for 20 months.

“We know that millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated,” Varensky said, adding that Tuesday will be “a landmark day in the course of the pandemic.”

The CDC’s recommendations generally apply to children between 5 and 11 years old, regardless of whether they have previously been infected with the coronavirus or have an underlying health condition, which puts them at a higher risk of severe cases of COVID-19.

“As a mother, I encourage problematic parents to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about vaccines and the importance of getting their children vaccinated,” Varensky said.

In California, these vaccines will not be available until an additional review by the Western State Scientific Safety Review Task Force (a coalition of public health experts from California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) is approved. This may take an extra day to complete.

The CDC’s action was taken hours after an independent advisory panel issued full support for Pfizer-BioNTech’s infant vaccine. After the briefing showed that the vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children aged 5 to 11, the CDC’s Immunization Practice Advisory Committee unanimously voted to recommend the vaccine in all children in this age group.

“Based on our expertise and the information we have, we are very enthusiastic,” the committee member said Dr. Beth Bell, Professor of Global Health, University of Washington.

After the vote, several members of the group said that they were eager to vaccinate young people at home.

“I’m going to take my kid to get this,” said Veronica McNally, An attorney in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

Dr. Sarah S. LongPediatric infectious disease experts at Drexel University said that the CDC’s actions made three of her nine grandchildren eligible for vaccinations. “By this time next week,” she pointed out that only her youngest grandson will be vaccinated.

She added: “I strongly support this suggestion because it is a’should’ – not a’possible’ for all children of this age.”

Although children are far less likely to be seriously ill due to coronavirus infection than adults, the pandemic has already caused heavy losses to people of this age.

They are the people most likely to be hospitalized Multiple system inflammation syndromeOr MIS-C, where the immune system responds to SARS-CoV-2 infection by attacking healthy tissues. As of early October, a total of 2,316 elementary-age children in the United States had been hospitalized due to MIS-C.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 8,300 children between the ages of 5 and 11 were hospitalized due to COVID-19, and 94 of them died. About two-thirds of hospitalized patients suffer from certain chronic health conditions that put them at higher risk, such as asthma, obesity, heart disease or impaired immune system. But one-third of people are completely healthy before suffering from severe COVID-19.

After a challenging school year marked by distance learning and revising classroom protocols, things got worse in the summer.During the six-week period from late June to mid-August, as the Delta variant became popular in the United States, the number of children and adolescents hospitalized with COVID-19 increased Increased five times.

Even after a mild infection, At least 7% of children People in this age group seem to suffer from chronic COVID, a mysterious disease in which symptoms including coughing, muscle aches, breathing problems, and inattention may last for several months.

Children play an important role in spreading the virus because they can carry and spread the virus even if they have no symptoms. The CDC estimates that if recent transmission trends continue, vaccination of only 9 children in this age group will prevent a new infection, and vaccination of 2,213 children will save one child from hospitalization.

In Tuesday’s vote, the CDC’s advisory panel ignored concerns about vaccine-related myocarditis (a type of inflammation of the heart muscle). This situation is rare-it was found in 877 American residents under 30 who were vaccinated with Pfizer vaccine or a similar vaccine made by Moderna, and 86 million doses were given in this age group. This situation is usually resolved with over-the-counter medications and rest, and none of the cases is fatal.

However, last week, concerns about how this rare vaccine side effect would affect a group of preteen children led several consultants from the Food and Drug Administration to recommend a more limited vaccine launch. Would be a safer bet.

Pfizer’s clinical trials in children aged 5 to 11 have found a large number of cases of fatigue, headaches and arm soreness. But they did not detect signs of myocarditis-given their limited size, they are unlikely to be detected.

Dr. Matthew OsterA pediatric cardiologist at the Children’s Health Center in Atlanta told the members of the CDC team that he believes that after vaccination, young children are less likely to develop myocarditis than teenagers and young adults. He said that “classic” myocarditis sometimes develops after infection and is rare in prepubertal children, which suggests that hormonal changes may be at work.

Oster added that regardless of the age or gender of the patient, “the risk of contracting COVID is much greater for the heart” rather than being vaccinated to prevent it. When asked whether the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine outweigh the risks to young children, his answer was clear.

“In my opinion, yes,” Oster said.

As Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines begin to enter doctor’s offices and pharmacies, the monitoring system established by the CDC and FDA will search medical records and hotline reports to see if there is any increase in myocarditis in newly vaccinated children. Several CDC consultants said that experts’ views on myocarditis are constantly changing, and the federal government’s vigilance when tracking it is reassuring.

“We do understand that people have legitimate concerns, and they have a lot of problems,” Bell said. She encourages those who are in doubt to discuss these issues with their pediatrician or other trusted advisors and “do what they need to do to make them happy with their decision.”

In a survey conducted for the CDC in September, 35% of parents of children aged 5 to 11 said that once they are vaccinated, they “definitely” will vaccinate their children, and 26% said they “may” do so Do.

Among uncertain parents, 45% said they were worried about long-term side effects, 28% were particularly worried about heart side effects, and about 25% said they did not trust the COVID-19 vaccine at all. In addition, one in ten said that they do not think COVID-19 is a threat.

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