Independent experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended that Pfizer Covid be vaccinated against children aged 5 to 11, when the infection is growing across the country and immunity from the first two doses is weakening.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 11-1 in favor of vaccination for the age group. CDC Director Rachel Valensky is likely to sign a recommendation from the commission that will allow pharmacies, doctors’ offices and other health professionals to start getting vaccinated.
Although Covid is usually less severe in children than in adults, according to the CDC, more children between the ages of 5 and 11 were hospitalized during the Omicron wave than at any other time during a pandemic. Health officials are also concerned that children are developing long-term diseases such as long-term Covid syndrome and multisystemic inflammatory syndrome, abbreviated MIS-C, a serious disease associated with Covid infection that affects several organ systems.
“The impact and severity of long-term Covid on children is significant, and while we may not see it in medical facilities, it absolutely affects the lives of affected people,” said Dr. Grace Lee, chairman of the Stanford School of Medicine’s committee professor and professor of pediatrics. university.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 8,000 children have contracted MIS-C, with children between the ages of 5 and 11 being the most common in 46% of reported cases, according to the CDC. Sixteen children in this age group died from MIS-C, accounting for 23% of the 68 reported deaths among children of all ages.
According to the CDC, only 29% of children aged 5 to 11 in the U.S. have completed their first batch of Pfizer vaccinations. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 4.8 million children in the age group have been infected with Covid and more than 15,000 have been hospitalized, according to the CDC.
Dr Cape Talbat, the only voice against the recommendation, said the US should focus its resources on vaccinating the vast majority of children in the age group who did not receive the first vaccination, instead of moving forward with the vaccine.
“Very few have received the first two doses, and I think it’s incredibly important to focus on that before we start stimulating them,” said Talbot, a therapist and infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University.
The U.S. currently reports more than 99,000 new infections a day on average as of Tuesday, up 22% from the previous week, according to the CDC. Hospitalization has also increased by 22% over the past week, with an average of more than 3,000 people a day coming in with Covid.
As the number of cases increases, the immune protection provided by vaccines against infection weakens, as more time has passed since people received a series of primary vaccinations. Omicron and its subvariants are also able to evade antibodies that block infection.
According to the CDC, in the age group 5 to 11 years, vaccination against Covid was 43% effective against infection 59 days after the second dose in the period when omicron became the dominant variant of Covid. However, vaccination was 74% effective in preventing hospitalization of children 5 to 11 years of age against all variants of the virus.
Pfizer presented data from a small group of 30 children aged 5 to 11 years showing that the third dose increased the level of antibodies blocking infection against omicron by 22 times a month after taking it compared to the two doses. Dr Charu Sabharwal, director of clinical research for Pfizer vaccines, said the increased antibody levels should provide real protection against the omicron option, although the company did not provide data on effectiveness during Thursday’s meeting.
Sabharwal said most reactions to the third dose among the wider group of 401 children were mild to moderate, with fatigue and headaches being the most common. The rate of fever was low, and none of the children reported temperatures above 104 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius. There were no cases of myocarditis or pericarditis, inflammation of the heart. According to Pfizer, ten children had swollen lymph nodes, but the cases were mild and passed within a week of the onset of the disease.
More than 18 million doses of Pfizer have been administered to children aged 5 to 11 in the U.S. since a series of two-dose vaccinations were allowed for this age group in November. According to the CDC, the vast majority of reactions to the vaccine, 97%, were not serious. The most common side effects from the injections were fever, vomiting, headache, dizziness and fatigue.
Myocarditis after the second Pfizer injection is rare in boys aged 5 to 11 years with 2.7 cases per million doses administered, which is significantly lower than in boys aged 12 to 15 years who reported 48 cases of myocarditis at million doses, according to CDC data on vaccine hazards. Event notification system.
Dr. Sarah Oliver, a CDC staffer, said the incidence of myocarditis in children aged 5 to 11 years is likely to be even lower after the recommended dose, given that it occurs in other age groups.
The CDC examined 20 cases of myocarditis, inflammation of the heart, in children aged 5 to 11 years as of April after Pfizer vaccination. The vast majority of myocarditis patients were boys, 17 hospitalized, 1 size. The deceased boy had no signs of viral infection, 12 days after taking the 1st dose, the temperature rose, followed by stomach pain, vomiting and death on day 13.
The CDC in a large study published in April found that the risk of myocarditis after Covid infection was higher than when vaccinated with Pfizer and Moderna injections.