Covid-19: “The vaccine will be an opportunity for children and their families”

Tribune. Children aged 5 to 11 will be able to access the pediatric dosage of Pfizer-BioNTech’s anti-Covid RNA vaccine before Christmas. The calendar, which remained uncertain, has just been specified on December 7 by the executive. A vaccine under the tree: this end-of-year promise should be seen as an opportunity for French children and their families.

The vaccination campaign which will be launched on December 14 for fragile children, on the 20 for all others, will protect children, secure their schooling and curb the circulation of the virus. The benefit will not be immediate, of course, but the acuteness of the current situation and the threat of penetration of the Omicron variant make this new prevention imperative.

What to remember from Jean Castex’s announcements: reinforced protocol in schools, closing of discotheques, vaccination of 5-11 year olds …

The speed of circulation of the epidemic among primary school children is now reaching a critical dimension. This is the population where the virus circulates the most. In more than half of the territory, the probability that there is at least one contagious child in a class is at least 50%. According to the ComCor study from the Institut Pasteur, having a child in primary school increases the risk of being infected by 45% (Advisory Council for the vaccination strategy, opinion of 6 December).

Always more positive children

The school consequences of an incidence of more than 900 per 100,000 among 6-10 year olds are certainly now attenuated by the change in the criteria for closing classes. But if there are fewer closed classes, there are still more positive and isolated children, and there will be more until the Christmas holidays.

Above all, what are the consequences of this viral circulation on the health of children? “Those who say no, no, no problem with childrenmust look at the facts ”, said Dr Anthony Fauci, who is advising the White House on the health crisis. Even though it is most often benign in children, infection with SARS-CoV-2 is a real risk from which they must be protected. The week of November 22 to 29, 132 children under the age of 9 with Covid-19 entered the hospital. In total, since 1is March 2020, nearly 5,000 of them were discharged from hospital after a Covid diagnosis; 13 deaths have been recorded (according to Public Health France). And the fifth wave is already visible in the hospitalization data which has been increasing in this age group since the end of October.

Authorized in early November in the United States, the vaccine has already been administered to nearly 15% of children in this age group, more than 1.2 million of whom have already received both doses. If there was a negative signal on safety, it would have been traced back by now. The benefit-risk balance assessment therefore puts, on the one hand, risks associated with the vaccine which are now low, and, on the other hand, proven and direct benefits for children in terms of infections, d hospitalizations and deaths avoided.

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Covid-19: “The vaccine will be an opportunity for children and their families”