Children and adolescents, why would it be necessary to vaccinate them against covid?

Although in Argentina they represent 10% of the confirmed cases of coronavirus and 0.25% of those who died from the disease, the vaccination of children and adolescents is a horizon at the national level and several countries in the world have not authorized it. only for the protection of this population – especially those with comorbidities – but also to achieve herd immunity.

“Most children develop mild symptoms of covid-19 but there is a very low proportion of the pediatric population that can get complicated and most of them are girls, boys or adolescents who have some comorbidity,” pediatric infectologist Analía told Telam Of Cristófano.

De Cristófano, a member of the Argentine Society of Infectious Diseases (Sadi), explained that “these comorbidities are similar to those that constitute risk factors in adults such as immunosuppression, obesity, chronic respiratory symptoms or neurological disorders that make them unable to follow the measures general care such as wearing a chinstrap “.

“With which, if they can be vaccinated, it is a population that will improve their prognosis and reduce the possibility of having severe cases.

On the other hand, there is the issue of herd immunity, and in this sense vaccinating children would help reduce viral circulation, “he indicated. Since the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, in Argentina 112,282 cases of coronavirus in girls and boys between 0 and 9 years old and 355,479 between 10 and 19. In this same period, 251 people of both age groups died. “Of the total confirmed in this group (0-18), those that represent more cases are adolescents between 13 and 17 years old; This could be seen clearly especially during this year and it increased after the return to face-to-face schooling, “said Jorge Aliaga, physicist and researcher from Conicet, to Télam.

For example, the age group from 0 to 19 years was the one with the highest growth in coronavirus cases from the start of classes in the City of Buenos Aires -which began gradually from February 17-, although in the total daily notifications continued to represent a low percentage.

“In other words, when mobility increases, all cases go up, and those of children and adolescents also; that is, children are infected and infect others,” said Aliaga.

In this context, a study carried out by the interdisciplinary group of researchers, researchers and teachers from Conicet and the National University of Rosario found that among those who had received a dose and then had a coronavirus infection, in the “intra-home contagion” it was a lot more frequent that the unvaccinated person infects the vaccinated person than vice versa.

To do this study, the researchers analyzed the vaccination data and the cases reported in the province of Santa Fe between January 1, 2021 and June 30 in people between 18 and 65 years old.

“494 groups of infected were found where one of the cohabitants was vaccinated and the other was not when the infection occurred.

In 179 of these groups, the index case (first on the date of onset of symptoms) was the vaccinated person, while in the remaining 315 groups the index case was the unvaccinated person. That is, there are 76% more cases where the unvaccinated person would have infected their vaccinated partner, “the work indicated.

In addition to pointing out the importance of intra-home isolation when there are suspected or confirmed cases, in their conclusions the authors indicated that “this study shows the need to advance as soon as possible on the vaccination of the entire population, especially children and adolescents. “, and in particular” those who live with risk groups. “

In the same sense, the immunologist and researcher from Conicet Guillermo Docena expressed this week in a seminar that “the issue of children is that they become a reservoir.”

“Most will not have severe symptoms but they can infect an unvaccinated and even vaccinated adult. So vaccinating children under 18 is essential because there you have a source of contagion in asymptomatic patients that you do not detect and you begin to realize when the cases of the environment begin to rise, “he said.

Pediatric vaccines

Currently the vaccines approved for pediatric and adolescent use in the world are that of Pfizer from the age of 12 in Canada, the United States and the European Union, and those of Sinopharm and Sinovac in China from the age of 3. For its part, Moderna presented the results of its clinical trial in adolescents in May and authorization for its use could arrive before the end of the year from the US FDA.

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