Therefore, when officials meet, they will weigh a complex set of factors. What are the chances of a child becoming infected with covid? How much protection does a vaccine provide? What are the potential symptoms and complications that children face from taking it?
Given all these issues, Bloomberg says, “it’s clear that the benefits outweigh the risks for this age group.”
In fact, data from studies and analyzes show that in almost every covid scenario, vaccinating children will prevent severe infection and death at very low risk.
What the research found
The Pfizer study, which began in March 2021, took nearly 2,300 children and gave two-thirds of them a two-dose vaccination regimen, while the rest received a placebo. The injections were given at 21-day intervals and, crucially, at a lower dose than for adults – one third of the vaccine.
From the study, three vaccinated children caught covid, while there were 16 cases in the placebo group – almost 91% effectiveness. The side effects were typical and generally mild, and myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that is considered a rare side effect and probably the biggest concern, did not even occur (the percentage among adults is about seven per million, so 2,300 are very small sample size).
Modern, meanwhile, said Monday that his studies in children under 12 years of age – with two injections of half the adult dose given at 28-day intervals – also showed strong results. This vaccine will not be discussed when the FDA meets and will have to go through the same approval path that Pfizer is currently on before it can be given to children.
The bottom line is that these studies show that vaccines reduce children’s chances of symptomatic covid infection and hospitalization according to the number of adults – and without noticeable complications.
Can vaccinating children help reduce the pandemic?
However, vaccination is not just about individual benefits, although they are obviously important. On a broader scale, says computer epidemiologist Monkey Majumder, vaccinating children can affect the form of the pandemic itself.
“One thing that makes school-age children – especially younger children – unique is not only the number of contacts they have in a given day, but also the heterogeneity of age groups among those contacts,” said Majumder, a lecturer at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “They interact with their peers at school and in extracurricular programs, but they also interact with older educators and caregivers, as well as with their families.