Denpa News The issue of vaccinating children is increasingly present in the debates, especially with the emergence of the more transmissible variants. The French Academy of Medicine issued a press release on Wednesday, November 17, stating its view that vaccines should not be given to all children, but that some children should benefit from them. A view shared by the Belgian experts.
The French Academy of Medicine recommends extending immunization against Covid-19 with the vaccine (from Pfizer/BioNTech) to children at risk of severe forms of the disease due to co-morbidities, regardless of age, as well as to other children in their family and school environment.
It also recommends “vaccinating children who live with vulnerable adults, especially people with reduced immunity and chronic diseases”.
In justification of its position, it cites, among other things, “the possible reduction of the circulation of the virus in the family environment” and “in primary schools, thereby avoiding class closures, educational disadvantage and the social and economic costs for families”.
However, she believes that the clinical trials conducted are inadequate and that, as children are very rarely affected by severe forms of the disease, their vaccination should not be used “to compensate for the refusal of some adults to be vaccinated“.
Although severe forms of Covid and, even more importantly, deaths in children are very rare, the vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna can occasionally cause heart inflammation. These are very rare side effects, but they must be weighed against the benefits of the vaccine for the youngest children.
European health authorities are currently investigating the matter after receiving positive data from Pfizer and then from Moderna. They show that there are no serious consequences but on a sample of about a thousand children, which is insufficient to detect very rare but serious consequences.
“The disease remains limited in children, so the direct benefit of vaccination will also be limited,” emphasizes Dr. Dimitri Van der Linden, pediatric infectiologist at the university clinics of Saint-Luc. “More than a million Belgian adults over the age of 18 are still not vaccinated. On the other hand, 74% of 12-17 year-olds have been vaccinated. In total, there are 937,984 children aged 6 to 11 in Belgium, according to Sciensano. If we choose to push through the vaccination of young children, we must first ensure that we continue to vaccinate adults who are more at risk,” emphasizes the pediatrician.