A girl receives a vaccine in North Carolina, USA (Photo: Reuters)

Until now, Only the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNtech has received authorization in the United States to be placed in minors between the ages of 12 and 17. The rest of the vaccines can only be administered to those over 18 years of age, although it is expected that at any time the laboratory Modern receives authorization to be received by teenagers.

But as the adult population begins to be largely immunized, the interest of the authorities – and of the laboratories – is focused on children.

A independent FDA advisory committee (Federal Food and Drug Administration) on vaccines is seriously considering approval of vaccines for use in children. There are three areas of particular concern and depending on what you find in each of them, they will be approved or not.

Safety

Logically the first thing to be tested is that the vaccines are safe for children. Sufficient testing should be done to be confident that they do not cause harmful side effects.

So far everything seems to indicate that Children’s immune systems react differently from adults to the virus. Although the vast majority of children do not seem to get severely ill in case of contracting COVID-19, it is worrying that a few of them have developed a severe inflammatory syndrome known as MIS-C, which has not occurred in adults.

In addition, there is much that is unknown about the virus so far.. For example, according to CDC data, about 300 children have been hospitalized in the country as a result of COVID-19, a low number that has grown in recent weeks. In addition, for some unknown reason until now, the figures indicate that hospitalization rates are higher in adolescents and in children under 5 years of age, while they decrease in those between 5 and 11 years old.

Effectiveness

The efficacy of a vaccine is usually estimated in clinical studies., comparing the number (and type) of infections developed by participants who were immunized compared to those who received a placebo.

But since children themselves tend to develop fewer symptoms with COVID-19, these studies may take longer than tests done on adults. That is why the FDA is studying the possibility of performing other types of measurements, such as monitor the types of antibodies developed by children who receive the vaccine.

Effects of the vaccine in patients already receiving other vaccines

Unlike adults, children already have a vaccination schedule that they follow. Among the facts to be determined by the FDA is the effect on the body of minors receiving the vaccine against COVID-19 while they are being immunized for other diseases and if the effectiveness of any of those inoculations is altered.

It is not unusual for minors to receive more than one vaccine at a time., but so far this has not been tested with those developed for the coronavirus. Some fear that by combining vaccines, the side effects may increase.

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