An emergency use authorization was approved by the FDA for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children 5 – 11 years old.
The FDA, CDC, and ACIP recommend vaccinating the younger population against Covid-19 for several reasons which were supported by the clinical trials. The clinical trials enrolled children 6 mos – 11 years. Results from the clinical trial for the 6 month – 4-year-old group are expected later this year.
Vaccination of children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old may play an important role in reducing overall SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
Studies have shown that children serve as reservoirs for SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) transmission. Even asymptomatic children have been found to shed the virus to other people making it hard to detect and contain. There are 28 approximately million children in the United States, making community transmission a very real problem. Vaccinating children will help reduce community transmission, especially to the high-risk population and the elderly. Children from the age of 5 to 11, make up about ¼ of all new cases.
While the mortality rate for Covid-19 in children is substantially lower than that of adults, it still ranked in the top 10 leading causes of death, for children 5 to 11 years old, between January and May 2021. Although comorbidities, including asthma, diabetes, and obesity, among others, increase the risk of severe Covid-19 and hospitalization, approximately one-third of the children who are hospitalized for Covid-19 do not have underlying comorbidities.
The vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in children. It has also been shown in studies to reduce the likely hood of severe illness, hospitalizations, long-term sequelae, and even death. There is also an evolving concern for post-acute Covid-19 sequelae, such as MIS-C, although the full magnitude is yet characterized.
Getting children vaccinated can also help with the interruption that we are seeing to their education.
Studies are still ongoing regarding the impact that Covid-19 has is having on their education, but we know it also impacts their social and emotional development. With the FDA emergency use approval and recent studies, we understand that the vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in children. Vaccinating children may help reduce the complications caused by Covid-19, as well help reduce the interruptions to their education and mental health of our youth.