Covid vaccine for teens: ethics committee criticizes hasty decision

<< Knowing that a significant number of adults, including people with underlying medical conditions, will not vaccinate, is it ethical to hold minors accountable, in terms of collective benefit, for not vaccinating a portion of the adult population? The National Advisory Committee of Ethics (CCNE), chaired by Jean-François Delfrassy, ​​who also chairs the Covid Scientific Council, presented its opinion in the form of a dissertation on Tuesday, a week after Emmanuel Macron announced the discovery of Covid vaccination for 12-15 years. summer from June 15.

The head of state was in a bit of a hurry, writes the independent organization, which “regrets that the government’s announcement about the vaccination of adolescents was made before his opinion was announced.”

“Very limited” individual benefit

According to CCNE, the individual health benefits that adolescents can get from vaccinations are “very limited.” Cases of serious illness from Covid infection are extremely rare in this population. On the contrary, “current hindsight does not guarantee complete safety of these new vaccines for adolescents,” stresses CCNE, which believes that Pfizer’s study of 12-15 year olds is too small to clearly demonstrate vaccine efficacy.

However, vaccinating adolescents may have indirect individual benefits, CCNE continues, as some of them suffer from health limitations that could have been lifted if they were no longer carriers of the infection: depression and sleep disturbances. “Material impossibility of access to lessons and balanced meals outside of school”, which increases social inequality …

Altruistic vaccination

Finally, there is a collective benefit to vaccinating adolescents to achieve herd immunity. The British variant (alpha) in the virgin territory of any immunity infects an average of four others. According to epidemiologists, therefore, it is necessary to vaccinate from 80 to 85% of the French to block his path, or almost all adults (they weigh 78.5% of the total population). However, 20% of them do not want to get vaccinated.

Therefore, we must accept the principle of “altruistic vaccination” for rubella vaccine, which is given to children to protect those around them, pregnant women and especially the baby they are carrying.

Vaccine alternatives

But CCNE is not convinced that this is the best solution, and calls for the first and foremost “to give adults the opportunity to avoid vaccination of young people” – in other words, get vaccinated. Moreover, there is not only a vaccine: in times of low epidemic pressure, test-trail-isolate operations should be sufficient to suppress fire outbreaks.

“Wouldn’t public pressure indirectly force adolescents to agree to vaccinations? “He is also worried, fearing the ‘stigmatization’ of unvaccinated youth.

Obtaining the consent of a minor

Ultimately, CCNE is asking that we not be satisfied with parental consent, but that we seek “free and informed consent” from stakeholders, which “actually requires the provision of sufficient information. Clear and adapted for a minor, according to him. age and degree of maturity. ” On the menu: benefit / risk balance; alternatives to the vaccine.

CCNE also wants young people to be warned that even if they get vaccinated, they risk redefining. Indeed, people in poor countries have limited access to vaccines. They could have new options, and then enter France. The World Health Organization does not recommend vaccinating adolescents at this stage because Africa already has a lot in common with adults, CCNE reports.

Thus, the search for consent can take quite a long time. The Advisory Committee is not convinced that this would be “consistent with a very short duration of discussion with a healthcare professional at the time of vaccination.” This does not support the idea of ​​chain injection in middle and high school early in the school year.

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