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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

COVID-19 vaccines for kids and teenagers: What we do — and don’t — know

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Vaccines have been heralded as a key measure to gradual the COVID-19 pandemic and at some point carry it to an finish. Day by day, hundreds of thousands of American adults are receiving one of many approved vaccines confirmed extremely efficient at stopping extreme sickness which may in any other case result in hospitalizations and deaths. Within the US, most people over 65 have now been absolutely vaccinated, defending probably the most weak in our inhabitants.

As an infectious illness specialist, my responses to the questions beneath are based mostly on what we all know thus far about an infection and vaccines in kids and teenagers. We’ll must proceed filling in gaps as analysis is finished and our understanding evolves.

What can we find out about how COVID-19 impacts kids and teenagers?

Most COVID-19 infections in kids are delicate or trigger no apparent signs. Nonetheless, a small proportion of contaminated kids

  • develop a serious inflammatory condition called MIS-C within the two to 6 weeks following COVID-19 an infection. This will likely occur even in kids who’ve delicate signs or no signs.
  • get very sick and want hospitalization or intensive care.

Over 400 kids have died from COVID-19 an infection. That’s higher than the variety of childhood deaths through the deadliest flu season prior to now 20 years.

Vaccinating kids to forestall these outcomes is without doubt one of the most vital causes driving vaccine research in kids. Additional, vaccinating kids will likely be vital to attaining a population-wide degree of immunity — herd immunity — enough to gradual the emergence of harmful variants and produce an finish to the pandemic.

What do we all know thus far about COVID-19 vaccines in teenagers?

  • The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is allowed to be used in individuals ages 16 and older.
  • The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved to be used in individuals ages 18 and older.
  • These authorizations have been based mostly on information from individuals of those ages in randomized, placebo-controlled trials that demonstrated the protection and efficacy of those vaccines. Efficacy measures how nicely a vaccine works within the managed circumstances of a research. Effectiveness is how nicely a vaccine works exterior of a research, when individuals in the neighborhood obtain it.

As states increase eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines, teenagers 16 and older can obtain the suitable vaccine via the identical sources adults have had entry to thus far. Out there vaccine websites might range by state and the place you obtain well being care. Examine the searchable map on VaccineFinder, or your state board of well being.

Vaccine analysis completed thus far, or now underway, consists of the next:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech has accomplished a trial in 12-to 15-year-olds. This trial used the identical dose and schedule of the vaccine as is utilized in adults: two doses given three weeks aside. The corporate introduced in a press release that the vaccine was protected and nicely tolerated, elicited sturdy antibody responses, and had 100% efficacy in stopping delicate to extreme an infection on this age group. The FDA is reviewing the info and can think about authorizing this vaccine to be used on this age group. If all goes nicely, we’d count on this vaccine to be accessible to 12-to 15-year-olds within the coming months.
  • Moderna accomplished enrolling 12-to 17-year-olds in the same trial utilizing the identical dose and schedule as in adults: two doses given 4 weeks aside. Knowledge from this trial are anticipated inside the subsequent few months.
  • Johnson & Johnson has began a trial of its vaccine for a small variety of 16-to 17-year-olds. If the vaccine proves to be protected and efficient in that age group, the trial will proceed with 12-to 15-year-olds.

What about COVID-19 vaccine trials for youthful kids?

  • Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have each begun trials in kids 6 months to 11 years previous.
  • These trials will every start by testing smaller doses than these given to older kids, teenagers, and adults. This enables researchers to find out which dose is nicely tolerated and nonetheless elicits sturdy antibody ends in youthful kids.
  • As soon as the dose is about, bigger numbers of youngsters in these age ranges will likely be enrolled in placebo-controlled trials to guage the efficacy of those vaccines.

All of those steps will take a while in order that they are often completed with out slicing any corners on security. The earliest vaccines will seemingly be accessible for youthful kids is late 2021, or maybe early in 2022.

What isn’t but recognized about COVID-19 vaccines in kids and teenagers?

  • How lengthy vaccine-induced immunity in opposition to COVID-19 an infection lasts in kids will should be adopted over time. Findings from such research will assist specialists determine whether or not kids will want boosters of COVID-19 vaccines sooner or later.
  • Researchers additionally want to check whether or not COVID-19 vaccines may be mixed with different vaccines that kids routinely obtain. For now, the CDC recommends not giving every other vaccines inside 14 days of a COVID-19 vaccine. That is true for individuals of any age.
  • Researchers might want to consider the impression of those vaccines on defending kids from an infection with COVID-19 variants. However biologically, there can be no cause to count on variations in vaccine protection of variants in adults versus kids.

The publish COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens: What we do — and don’t — know appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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