Covid-19: vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 in question, responses expected in early 2022

While some countries, such as the United States or Israel, already vaccinate younger children, France is groping forwards on the issue. The National Academy of Medicine has weighed the pros and cons. Here are some ideas on this divisive topic.

Vaccinate children under the age of twelve against Covid-19, to further curb the epidemic that continues to rebound? The question inevitably arises. And if certain countries, such as Israel or the United States, have decided in favor of vaccinating the very young, in France, certain scientific opinions are still awaited.

Answers are expected from scientific authorities

This is in any case what Olivier Véran affirms this Wednesday, November 17, in the 20 minute columns. Asked about the vaccination of children under the age of twelve, the Minister of Health explains that answers are expected at the beginning of the year.

“Studies used by the US Medicines Agency show that the vaccine in children is effective and safe. We hope to receive transparent, objective and complete instructions from the European Medicines Agency in the coming weeks. It will then be up to the authorities. French scientists, probably in early 2022, “he explains.

Two ways to significantly increase vaccination coverage

For its part, the National Academy of Medicine has also investigated the issue and expresses its point of view in a press release published on Wednesday, November 17. The scientific society thus weighs the pros and cons of a vaccination of the French population between 5 and 11 years old.

For them, to bring the vaccination coverage rate to more than 90% in France (currently it is 75%), it would be necessary to jointly establish a vaccination pass for 12 years and over and open vaccination to children aged 5 to 11 years. years.

What arguments in favor of vaccinating children from 5 to 11 years of age?

For the Academy of Medicine, several arguments support this last measure. In particular, the fact that the trials were conclusive, a direct benefit linked to the reduction of severe cases in children, which are rarer but not non-existent. The Academy also lists three other benefits:

  • the reduction of the circulation of the virus in “the family environment of children and the indirect protection of people at risk who are part of it”,
  • the possible reduction in the circulation of the virus in primary schools,
  • the possible desiccation of the SARS-CoV-2 reservoir in the child population, from which new epidemic foci and new variants could arise.

Ethical problem

However, the National Academy of Medicine qualifies with some arguments against vaccinating the very young, in particular by pointing to an ethical problem.

“The ethical principle according to which the vaccination of children, who have little risk of developing serious forms of the disease, should not be used, in order to achieve herd immunity, to compensate for the rejection of vaccination by certain adults”, indicates the ‘Academy.

Focus on children at risk?

Another element pointed out against the vaccination of young children, their insufficient number in clinical trials. In short, it is souligné qu’en France les formes graves sont très rares chez les enfants, sauf chez ceux who are porteurs de comorbidités et l’Académie d’ajouter that parmi les comorbidités, l’obésité qui est bien plus present chez les enfants In the U.S.

Therefore, if the government is still awaiting the opinions of the scientific authorities, the National Academy of Medicine recommends for its part to extend the vaccination of children to those who present serious risks due to comorbidities, “whatever their age. , as well as other children who live in their family and school environment ”and vaccinate children who live in the environment of the most vulnerable adults.

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