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Experts answer questions about COVID vaccines for people under the age of 18 | News

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Cadillac — When the polio vaccine was introduced in the 1950s, children were the first group to be vaccinated in society because they were at greatest risk of developing the disease.

Vaccines were so new at the time that many parents were nervous about their children being vaccinated. In the end, however, the consequences of polio were so severe that many of the same parents decided to vaccinate their children anyway.

Fortunately, COVID-19 does not affect young people as much as polio. Does that fact convince parents not to vaccinate their children with COVID after the vaccine is available?

Experts want not to do so for several reasons.

As of February 4, US state and territory (reported) child mortality rates ranged from 0% to 0.26% of all COVID-19 deaths, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Association of Children’s Hospitals. , 11 states report zero. Death of a child. This means that 0% to 0.05% of all children with COVID-19 cases died.

Deaths from COVID-19 are not only very rare in children, but also hospitalizations.

Pediatrics accounted for 1.2% to 2.9% of the total number of hospitalizations reported, and 0.1% to 2.3% of all pediatric COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization.

That said, public health experts say the answer to the question of whether most adolescents should be vaccinated is a clear “yes”.

“It protects them and protects others because they can’t spread it,” Dr. Jennifer Morse wrote in an email to Cadillac News. Morse is the Medical Director of the 10th District Health Department and the Central Michigan District Health Department. “Helps keep them in school, sports, additional curriculum, etc.”

Morse quoted an article in the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases in September 2020 discussing the potential benefits of future vaccines.

“In addition to direct medical benefits, the COVID-19 vaccine provides early childhood education by enabling children to return to safer school, a key factor in maximizing their potential. Can bring direct benefits to the school, “the article states.

“Intermittent or complete closure of schools to on-site education can adversely affect the opportunity in all households that cannot provide direct education oversight, and in households without adequate access to online learning. It is exacerbated. This is a problem that disproportionately affects racial minorities. In addition to changes in the learning environment, lack of social distance and extracurricular activities (sports, drama, music, art, social events, etc.) Affects the emotional and psychological development of children. Therefore, approved COVID-19 vaccines for children can have a wide range of positive effects on health and educational fairness.

Dr. Lisa Lowery, an adolescent medicine specialist at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital-Spectrum Health Medical Group, said no vaccine is currently approved for children under the age of 16.

She said there were several reasons why it took so long to develop a COVID vaccine for children.

For one thing, Laurie said researchers know the doses to give to adults, but still understand what the appropriate doses are for children.

Complicating these efforts is the difference in immune system and reactivity between adults and children that must be considered.

“There’s a lot you need to do to get it right,” Lowery said.

For example, while children infected with the coronavirus rarely get serious illness or death, some children are characterized by inflammation of various body parts, including the heart, according to Laurie. It develops an inflammatory syndrome, or a serious condition called MIS-C. , Lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

“This type of inflammatory risk makes vaccine development particularly difficult in the pediatric population,” read a December 2020 article published in the medical journal Pediatric Investigation. “If the vaccine can elicit this type of antibody response, healthy children may be at risk of serious outcomes after vaccination aimed at preventing SARS-CoV-2 disease. Understanding the pathophysiology and mechanisms associated with those who develop MIS-C to effectively study vaccines in the pediatric population.

Laurie said many parents were naturally anxious about the idea that their children would get a new vaccine. But what they should keep in mind is that millions of adults would have already been vaccinated by the time their children became available (at the earliest, months from now). about it. She also said it would be helpful to remember that safe and effective vaccines have been used for many illnesses for decades.

The virus affects certain groups of adults, and just as some children are in certain pre-existing conditions, some children are also unbalanced.

Of the 121 people under the age of 21 who died of COVID, 78% were Hispanic, non-Hispanic blacks, or non-Hispanic American Indian / Alaska Natives, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Association of Children’s Hospitals. And 75% had underlying medical conditions, including asthma (28%), obesity (27%), neurological / developmental status (22%), and cardiovascular disease (18%).

Raleigh said it is especially important for these children to be vaccinated, and in special circumstances where children (or adults) are not advised to be vaccinated (for example, if they have a severe allergic reaction). These examples are not the standard mentioned as a rare exception.

“I would like to talk to your family doctor about it,” Lowery said.

Lowry said the vaccine not only protects individual children, but also enhances the protection of society as a whole, as immunizing children, who make up about a quarter of the population, is essential for the development of herd immunity. ..

“It would be very difficult to get herd immunity without vaccination for people under the age of 18,” Morse agreed.

“Vaccinated children may be directly affected by the COVID-19 vaccine, but as observed in the possibility of hepatitis A, rotavirus, pneumococcal, rubella, and influenza, children It should also be recognized that there is a substantial potential for indirect effects of vaccination against the flu.’Read the article previously cited by Morse. “A significant reduction in adult pneumococcal infections is 7-valent. Occurred after the implementation of a pediatric pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in … Pediatric vaccination against COVID-19 may mimic the indirect benefits previously identified with other vaccines. “

Dr. James Welan, Deputy Director of Medicine at Manson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital, said that if children are not vaccinated with other people, the coronavirus can multiply and eventually spread to other segments. He added that it would function as a “reservoir”. Once again in society.

It’s hard to predict the future for COVID-19, but Lowery said the vaccine could be an annual vaccination as well as a flu shot. She said it would be routine for several years and could be phased out thereafter.

“You’ll know over time,” Raleigh said.

In the meantime, Lowery recommends keeping children up-to-date on all other vaccinations.She said regular vaccinations were reduced when the virus first arrived in the United States.

“Make sure that those who can be vaccinated are vaccinated,” Lowery said. “Returns to the normal pattern.”

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