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Medical Council approves vaccinating children aged 12-15

TVN24 | TVN24 News in English

TVN24 News in English, TVN24, Reuters
Medical Council approves vaccinating children aged 12-15
Medical Council approves vaccinating children aged 12-15TVN24
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TVN24Medical Council approves vaccinating children aged 12-15

"Medical recommendation is ready and it's positive. We opt, of course, for vaccinating children aged 12-15" - member of the Medical Council doctor Konstanty Szułdrzyński told TVN24 on Monday. In his view, "it would be good to try to vaccinate as many children by the end of June as possible".

The Medical Council is an auxiliary body to the Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. It consists of over a dozen medical experts mainly from the fields of epidemiology, virology and public health.

Chief of the anesthesiology and intensive therapy clinic at the Central Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration in Warsaw, doctor Konstanty Szułdrzyński is among these experts.

On Monday he told TVN24 that the Medical Council's recommendation regarding vaccinating children against COVID-19 was ready. "It's positive. We opt, of course, for vaccinating children aged 12-15" - he said.

He also said that "children rarely suffer the disease(COVID-19) badly", but because it was much harder to keep distance between them, they were the most likely carriers of the virus.

At the same time, doctor Szułdrzyński argued, lack of contact with their peers was very detrimental to children's social and emotional development.

"Therefore, if we want to avoid closing schools, we must vaccinate our kids as soon as possible" - he appealed.

According to Szułdrzyński, "it would be good to try to vaccinate as many children by the end of June as possible". "The more kids we vaccinate before summer holidays, the higher the chance they will transmit new variants contracted abroad".

The Medical Council member also pointed out that "practically no viral disease in human history had been contained otherwise than through vaccinations". "Measles, smallpox and polio epidemics were defeated only thanks to vaccinations, and we still haven't found an effective cure for them" - he explained.

"It's quite possible that an effective medicine for COVID-19 will not be invented, and our only chance for normal life and avoiding lockdowns will be to get vaccinated, possibly several times" - he added.

The European Commission on Friday authorized Pfizer and partner BioNTech SE's COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12, paving the way for a broader roll-out in the bloc after similar clearances in the United States and Canada.

The decision comes after European Medicines Agency (EMA) backed the use of the vaccine in 12- to 15-year olds earlier in the day.

The agency's endorsement came weeks after it began evaluating extending use of the vaccine to include that age group. The vaccine is already being used in the European Union for those aged 16 and above.

The EMA said two doses of the vaccine, branded as Comirnaty, were required in the 12-15 age group and should be administered with an interval of at least three weeks, the same as for adults, adding that it was up to individual EU states to decide if and when to offer the vaccine to teenagers.

Distribution and administration of the vaccine by the EU member states will continue to be determined according to the populations identified in the EU and as per national guidance, Pfizer and BioNTech said.

Germany on Thursday laid out plans to offer shots to 12-year-olds from June 7, pending the EMA's verdict. Italy has also said it is preparing to extend its campaign to over 12-year olds.

Inoculating children and young people is considered a critical step toward reaching "herd immunity" and taming the pandemic, and Japan on Friday joined the countries with a go-ahead for Comirnaty in 12-year-olds.

Youngsters have been much less likely to suffer severe disease, with many experiencing no symptoms, allowing them to unwittingly transmit COVID-19 to others.

However, giving vaccines to younger people in affluent countries while many parts of the world await doses for older and more vulnerable people has raised concerns.

Pfizer and BioNTech in March unveiled trial data showing their vaccine offered 100% protection against the infectious disease in a trial with 2,260 adolescents aged 12 to 15. It was also well tolerated.

The pair managed to steal a march on other drugmakers, including AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, who are working on vaccines for children, some as young as six months.

The shorter duration of safety monitoring in trials so far in the 12-15 age group compared with older cohorts was not a concern, said Marco Cavaleri, EMA's head of health threats and vaccines strategy.

"Based on the experience that we've gathered with many other vaccines throughout the years is that ... what we see with young adults is also seen in adolescents," he told a news briefing, when asked about side effects. He added that monitoring would intensify as vaccine recipients become younger in future.

Others have voiced caution, however, such as a member of Germany's influential vaccine advisory committee Stiko. Paediatrics professor Ruediger von Kries has said the vaccine might only be called for in children with particular health risks, citing a lack of data on long-term side effects.

At the briefing, EMA also said that reports of cases of an inflammation of heart muscles following vaccination with Comirnaty were no cause for concern as they continued to happen at a rate that typically affected the general population.


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, TVN24, Reuters

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Shutterstock

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