Based on recent data showing that Pfizer–BioNTech’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is both safe and 100 percent effective in children, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized its use in those age 12 years and up. On Wednesday, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics announced support for COVID-19 vaccination of children.
In an op-ed in the New York Daily News, Adam J. Ratner, MD, director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and pediatric infectious disease specialist at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, laid out some of the key reasons why vaccinating children is a key step toward ending the pandemic and returning to normal life. COVID-19 occurs less often in children than in adults, and is less likely to be as severe, but it still does occur. Children make up the majority of cases of the life-threatening multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) that has been linked with COVID-19. In addition, even though infection rates are lower among children, they still contribute to community spread, which makes opening schools challenging. Vaccinating kids will help build population-level immunity and decrease spread to other children and vulnerable adults.
“For all of these reasons, we need to take steps to ensure that all eligible children, especially those who are most vulnerable, have timely and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccination,” says Dr. Ratner. “Vaccinating kids is an important step back toward normal life for all of us. Let’s get going.”
Read more from the New York Daily News.