Covid Vaccination In Children: Is It Worth It?

Pediatric Hospital in Bangalore

Covid Vaccination In Children; Is It Worth It?

Covid-19, after its first appearance in 2019 in China has swept across the globe bringing about waves of fear, panic, death and debility. It has completely disrupted the social framework as we knew it and forced us to create and abide by new-age rules to be safe. At present vaccination is our only armor against the fight against COVID-19. It is produced in record time due to the joint effort of researchers, doctors, manufacturers and regulatory agencies.

Manipal Hospital is one of the best pediatric hospitals in Whitefield, Bangalore equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and equipment to take care of all the needs of children. The paediatrician in Bangalore are highly experienced in handling complex and rare cases of children.

Why Covid vaccination was not available for children previously?

The greatest burden of the Covid 19 related disease and death was among the older population and high risk (Diabetic, cardiac issues, chronic lung issue etc.) population. Hence the majority of early research related to vaccines was focused on this group. Sever Covid-19 related disease is seen in only 2-7% of children and adolescents.  Clinical trials in children have many logistical, clinical, and social barriers which led to delay in a vaccine trial in this age group.

Why now?

There is enough data on vaccine safety in the adult age group to carry out vaccine trials in younger age groups

  • Continue research in the pediatric age group showed under reporting of COVID in children due to asymptomatic and milder symptoms yet they are a potential source of transmission. A recent study in INDIA following the 2nd wave due to the Delta variant showed children to be equally seropositive as their adult counterparts. 

  • The Spectrum of Covid manifestation in children varies from asymptomatic, mild respiratory ailments to severe multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). MIS-C is a potentially life-threatening condition, appears a few weeks following Covid exposure.

  • Closure of school, isolation and social distancing has led to disruption in emotional, behavioural, developmental and social skill. 

  • Children in India form a huge demographic portion of society and we cannot overlook the threat imposed by this constantly changing virus.

Covid vaccination will help to reduce the severe symptoms, break the chain of transmission and help our little ones to attend the societal goals without fear and apprehension.

Is it safe to vaccinate my child?

A Vaccine undergoes multiple phase trials to assure safety and efficacy in children where data on adverse effects, clinical immunogenicity, effectiveness etc. were collected and analyzed.

  • Available data on safety from Pfizer, Mordena, Covaxin trials showed a minor adverse effect in children like any other vaccination. 

  • Having said that there have been few reports of severe adverse effects like heart issues, anaphylactic reaction, blood clots, and inflammatory syndromes following vaccination. But such incidents are rare and the benefit of vaccination outweighs the risk in such groups.

  • Long Term Data on vaccine safety and efficacy is not available at present as most of the study trials in children have started in 2020.

What are the covid vaccines that can be given to children?
 

COMIRNATY(Pfizer BioNTech)  * mRNA vaccine BNT162b2
 * Recent research showed good efficacy and safety in 5-11yrs and 12-17yrs age group
 * Low dose (10ug) 2 shots 3 weeks apart in 5-11yrs
 * Emergency use authorisation in the US approved
 * Not available in INDIA
Moderna  * mRNA 1273 vaccine
* Currently undergoing phase II/III trial in 6-11yrs (estimated time of completion by 2023), 12-17yrs age     group( estimated time of completion June 2022)
 * Emergency use authorisation pending
 * Granted by Indian drug controller but still not available
oxford-AstraZeneca
/Covishield
 * Recombinant adenovirus vaccine(ChAdOx1 nCoV-19)
 * Currently under study by oxford university in the 6-17yrs age group
 * Data yet to be published
Covaxin  * Inactivated Covid-19 vaccine
 * Currently under Phase II/III trial for age group 2-6yrs, 6-12yrs, 12-18yrs( estimated completion date JAn,2022)
 * Suggested for emergency use Approval in INDIA for 2-18yrs age group by Subject Expert committee(SEC). BUT final approval by DCGI INDIA is still pending.
other vaccines  * Sputnik-Light recombinant heterologus recombinat vaccine. No trial data in children at present
 * ZyCoV-D first Plasmid DNA vaccine authorised in INDIA for emergency use above 12yrs but data results are not yet public and yet to be available.
 * Sinovac-CoronaVac and BBIBP-CorV inactivated vaccine approved by Chinese authority in the 3-17yrs age group for emergency use.

What are the side effects of the vaccination?

Side effects are somewhat vaccine-specific but some symptoms are common to most of the vaccines like Injection site pain/swelling, Nausea, dizziness, fatigue, body ache, fever, abdominal pain, vomiting. These symptoms are usually mild and resolve in 48hrs.

Some serious side effects relative to a few specific vaccines have been reported like Myocarditis following mRNA vaccine, Demyelinating disease (GBS), Clotting/thrombotic event following recombinant adenovirus Vaccine(Covishield) but no causal relationship has been established between a vaccine and such events.

Do they still need to wear masks after vaccination?

Yes, and children should follow all covid appropriate behaviour as before. Long term effects of vaccine efficacy and protection are still under research.

Can children get Covid-19 infection after vaccination?

Since no Covid vaccine is 100% effective, some covid-19 case following full vaccination is possible. But such breakthrough Covid-19 disease is usually less severe and far less frequent compared to disease in Unvaccinated children.

Conclusion

Vaccination in children and adolescents will bridge the demographic gap in vaccine coverage and help to block virus transmission and severe disease. It will also help to reduce the anxiety and apprehension surrounding school opening, social contact and outdoor activity for the child.

If you are looking for a hospital for covid treatment for children in Bangalore then visit Manipal Hospital or book an appointment with the respective doctor.

 

Dr. Md. Nawad Azam

Specialist - Paediatrics & Child Care

Manipal Hospital, Whitefield, Bangalore



 

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