Covid-19 vaccine does not affect development of the youngest 0:59
(CNN Spanish) – The FDA approved the use of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for adolescents 12-15 years of age. This is an important step in controlling the pandemic in the United States.
Now, a committee of the CDC must give the green light to the use of the vaccine so that this population begins to receive the first injections. Dr. Elmer Huerta explains the studies behind this vaccine and its use in adolescents.
You can listen to this episode on Spotify or your favorite podcast platform or read the transcript below.
Hello, I am Dr. Elmer Huerta and this is your daily dose of information about the coronavirus. Information that we hope will be useful to take care of your health and that of your family.
FDA Approves Teen Vaccine
As anticipated, the United States Food and Drug Administration extended authorization for the use of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for adolescents between 12 and 15 years of age under emergency conditions, a step that has been considered by many experts as very important to end the pandemic in that country.
This authorization expands access to the vaccine to another 5% of the population, representing an additional 17 million people. With this measure, 85% of the population of the United States will be eligible to receive a vaccine against covid-19.
As in the case of the approval of the vaccine for adults, the Expert Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to meet within the next 48 hours to recommend that they approve the use of the vaccine. Only then will it be possible to start vaccination.
The adolescent vaccine, developed by the Pfizer / BioNTech laboratory, constitutes an important link in the chain of control of covid-19. On May 5, Canada was the first country to authorize the vaccine for adolescents.
The studies behind this vaccine
As we heard in the episodes of February 15, April 1 and May 6, several months ago several laboratories were developing children’s versions of their adult vaccines, a race that has undoubtedly been won by Pfizer / BioNTech.
On March 31, Pfizer released the results of its phase 3 study of 2,260 adolescents ages 12 to 15 in the United States. The vaccine was 100% effective in preventing infection. And, according to its researchers, it exceeded the efficacy reported in a similar trial in participants ages 16 to 25.
According to the press release – because the study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal – the researchers found that 18 cases of covid-19 occurred in the group of 2,260 participants. All of them in the placebo group and none in the vaccinated group. Hence, 100% efficiency.
On the other hand, the study found that the vaccine intensely stimulated the production of neutralizing antibodies, remaining, in a subset of participating adolescents, for up to a month after the second dose.
Adolescents tolerated the vaccine
According to the statement, the administration of the vaccine was well tolerated and had side effects similar to those seen in participants aged 16 to 25 years. That is, mainly local reactions, with pain at the injection site, fatigue, fever and tiredness.
Undoubtedly, the approval of the vaccine opens the possibility that the vaccination of adolescents begins before the beginning of the next school year that, in the United States, begins in September. With the teachers already vaccinated, it will be much easier for many of the activities that took place before the pandemic to be summarized.
Vaccination will also bring a greater sense of normalcy to the lives of many parents, who until now were afraid that their teenage children could be infected during events such as meetings with friends or summer camps, which could be done without problem once vaccinated. .
Why is it important that this group be vaccinated?
If to these situations we add the fact that adolescents constitute one of the groups that can cause a high number of infections, it is considered that extending vaccination to this sector constitutes an important step in the control of the pandemic in the United States.
Let us also remember that, despite having a low mortality (at least 2,374 young people under 30 have died in the United States), the disease can leave debilitating sequelae of varying severity that could be avoided with vaccination.
Vaccinating adolescents – and young people – will also protect many innocent people from contagion, many of them with diseases that predispose them to become complicated if they catch COVID-19. In addition, vaccinating these groups will help to achieve immunity and, therefore, protect society.
Parents, the biggest challenge
One of the obstacles that will have to be overcome is the doubt of the parents. A recent survey, for example, revealed that only 29% of families said they would vaccinate their children immediately after the vaccine became available, but that 32% would wait to see how the vaccine works before giving it to their child.
15% of parents said their child would be vaccinated only if their school requires it and 19% said they definitely would not.
Finally, it was announced that Pfizer said the first week of May that it hopes to present an emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine for children 2 to 11 years old in September, and that its study of safety and efficacy of the vaccine in children 6 months to 11 years is ongoing.
Do you have questions about the coronavirus?
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