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

Grandstand. Children ages 5 to 11 will be able to access the pediatric dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech RNA anti-Covid vaccine before Christmas. The calendar, which remained uncertain, was just specified on December 7 by the executive. A Vaccine Under the Tree: This end-of-the-year promise should be seen as an opportunity for French children and their families.

The vaccination campaign that will be launched on December 14 for fragile children, on December 20 for everyone else, will protect children, ensure 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 the Jean Castex ads: reinforced protocol in schools, club closings, vaccination for 5-11 years …

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 the territory, the probability that there is at least one contagious child in a class is at least 50%. According to the ComCor study of the Institut Pasteur, having a child in primary school increases the risk of infection by 45% (Advisory Council for the vaccination strategy, opinion of December 6).

Always more positive children

The school consequences of an incidence of more than 900 per 100,000 among children aged 6 to 10 are now certainly mitigated by the change in 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 children’ should look at the facts,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, who advises the White House on the health crisis. Although it is usually mild in children, SARS-CoV-2 infection is a real risk to guard against. The week of November 22-29, 132 children under the age of 9 with Covid-19 were admitted to the hospital. In total, since March 1, 2020, nearly 5,000 have been discharged from the hospital after a Covid diagnosis; There have been 13 deaths (according to Public Health France). And the fifth wave is already perceived in the hospitalization data that has been increasing in this age group since the end of October.

Licensed in early November in the United States, the vaccine has already been administered to almost 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 about safety, it would have already been traced. Therefore, the assessment of the benefit-risk balance puts, on the one hand, the risks associated with the vaccine that are now low and, on the other hand, proven and direct benefits for children in terms of infections, hospitalizations and deaths averted.

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