Australia is vaccinating children up to the age of 5 with COVID-19 vaccination, as the pros and cons of vaccination of infants who are “very low” at risk of developing serious symptoms of COVID-19 are being debated. I am aiming to get started.
Health Minister Greg Hunt on Tuesday sought approval from Australian medical regulators and asked Pfizer to approve a vaccine trial in children aged 5 to 11 years.
In a letter to Pfizer’s managing directors in Australia and New Zealand, Hunt suggested that jabmakers should apply to the Therapeutic Goods Department in parallel with the US application.
“I am deeply grateful for your advice that the Pfizer vaccine trial is promising for children under the age of 12,” Hunt wrote.
“If the Australian Immunity Technical Advisory Group also approves vaccinations for this age cohort, vaccinations will be prioritized.”
Infants could be vaccinated this year if regulators give a green light, said Alison MacMillan, chief nurse.
Monday, Pfizer Presentation First results of an important trial of the COVID-19 vaccine in 2,268 participants aged 5 to 11 years.
Vaccine manufacturers reported that infants show a “strong neutralizing antibody response” and a “strong immune response” one month after the second dose, but “vaccines do not protect everyone. “.
Benefits and risks
However, some experts question whether the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks of children. High rate of adverse events in vaccinated individuals And there is increasing evidence that children are significantly less likely to develop severe illness or die of COVID-19 than adults. Some large UK studies..
Current September 21In Australia, children aged 0-9 account for about 11% of all cases of COVID-19, children aged 10-19 account for 13.4%, and no deaths have been reported in children under 10 years.
For infected people, symptoms usually do not last for more than 12 weeks. research It was published in the Journal of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.
The debate grew as follows: Recent US research Boys aged 12 to 15 years without underlying disease are 4 to 6 times more likely to suffer from rare but severe heart inflammation from the vaccine than to be hospitalized with COVID-19 for 4 months. I did.
Some health professionals Insisted If children are not vaccinated against COVID-19, they may be exposed to serious illness and harm children who are already at a disadvantage, the UK Joint Commission on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI) ) Has a large vaccinated population and the vaccine is less effective against delta variant infections.
“The margin of benefits, primarily from a health perspective, is currently considered too small to support advice on a universal program of immunization for otherwise healthy children aged 12 to 15 years. “JCVI said. statement this month.
Committee to children 12 to 15 years old You only need to get a jab if they are clinically vulnerable or if you live with someone who is.
Scientists argue that vaccination of young people is an ethical question
but About 2 percent of children Margie Danchin, an immunological researcher at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, claimed that children were vaccinated to protect unvaccinated adults who were infected with COVID-19.
“Children can still be infected with the virus, especially adults. Unvaccinated adults and unvaccinated grandparents are vulnerable,” she told ABCTV.
“So they (children) also play a role in communication. Of course, we want to see them go back to school. We want to see them come back to life.”
However, the claim that vaccination of young cohorts keeps adults safe remains “hypothetical,” a group of researchers from Canada, the United States, and France said. Editorial in the British peer-reviewed medical industry magazine BMJ..
They have a low infection rate, children are already infected, and most adults are vaccinated or already infected, even if they assume protection against severe COVID-19.
“If the goal is to protect adults, shouldn’t we focus our efforts on ensuring that adults are fully vaccinated, rather than targeting children?” Scientists Asked, saying that this causes a “serious problem” in ethics.
“Vaccination of very low-risk children in wealthy countries is very unfair, but many vulnerable adults in low-income countries receive no dose.”
“In addition, the long-term effects of gene-based vaccines, including the new vaccine platform, remain essentially unknown,” the researchers added.
NS study School teachers are more likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, as announced at The Lancet Europe in March. From other adults They are more than those from their students..
Professor Adam Finn, a member of JCVI, said: Times Last Saturday, scientists usually thoroughly investigated the long-term effects of the rare side effects of the vaccine before recommending it to children, but the COVID-19 public health crisis prevented them from doing so.
“It (immunizing children) is a fine-grained and balanced decision. It is not a black-and-white decision. It is not mandatory for these children to be vaccinated, but it is also complete. It’s wise to say, “he said.