Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed Medsafe’s “very carefully considered” interim approval of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years.
According to epidemiologist Michael Baker, immunizing children with Covid-19 increases their chances of reaching herd immunity.
Medsafe has fully allowed a 12-year-old New Zealander to get the Pfizer vaccine, provided that the drug company continues to provide data from clinical trials.
The government may give final approval later this month after considering advice from the Ministry of Health. Until then, the minimum age of the vaccine remains 16 years.
Although the children are at low risk, Covid-19 could be seriously ill, and the vaccine was able to protect them, Baker said.
“But the main advantage is the population protection gained by vaccination of more people, which will really limit the spread of the virus.”
With newer and more infectious disease variants, he said, 80-90 percent of the population would have to be immunized to reach herd immunity.
Trials to vaccinate children up to 6 months were underway, but there was question of how important it was to reduce infection.
According to Baker, the dose of the vaccine was slightly lower for the child.
“You want to give a minimal amount of vaccine that gives you a really active immune response.
“The good thing for children is that they have a very active immune system, so they need lower doses of the vaccine.”
He said children would most likely be vaccinated later in the deployment, except in special cases, such as in the families of border workers.
Health leaders are generally pleased with the prospect that younger age groups will be vaccinated, but some want their children to line up. Professor Des Gorman of the University of Auckland School of Medicine said that children aged 12 to 15 years in existing health should be “vaccinated tomorrow.”
Auckland’s specialist pediatrician, Dr. Emma Best, told the Morning Report that prioritizing some children would be beneficial, but the main effort was at greatest risk of serious illness. Vaccination of high people.
“In the long run, the vaccine may be applicable to this age group.
“At this point, we want to make sure that people at the highest risk of illness get the vaccine, whether they are exposed to the disease or have a very serious illness. thinking about.”
She said there could be special groups in the younger age group who could benefit from early vaccination, such as children of border workers at risk of being exposed to the virus.
International evidence of serious illness in children by Covid-19 was limited even in children with other health conditions, but immunizing a younger group protects the elderly in the family. Useful for.
“There are some personal benefits, but they prevent the possibility of being someone who passed. [the virus] It is also important to tell others. “
According to Baker, in studies involving thousands of participants so far, the vaccine was well tolerated in children and side effects were consistent with those observed in the elderly group, mild to moderate. It was a local reaction.
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