Children now account for about 25% of total COVID-19 cases in the United States, said Dr. Richina Bicette, associate medical director at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
“As adults get vaccinated and become more protected and immune to this virus, the virus is still in the community looking for a vulnerable host — and pediatric patients fit that description,” Bicette said. Severe Covid-19 is not limited to older Americans. A study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined more than 200 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 who were likely hospitalized primarily for Covid-19 in the first three months of 2021.
The report said while there were no deaths, nearly a third were admitted to intensive care units and roughly 5% required invasive mechanical ventilation. Children 12 and older can receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and outreach efforts have started in the race to protect teens who are eligible. Thursday, vaccine advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration will meet to discuss whether to authorize Covid-19 vaccines for children 11 and younger.
“What I think we’re going to do with that meeting is we’re going to decide what the parameters are for approval — either through emergency use authorization or for licensure — for much younger age groups,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The FDA has said it’ll likely want more discussion and data as it considers authorizing or approving vaccines in younger kids.
“Do we want a two-month follow-up? Do we want a six-month follow-up? What level of efficacy are we looking for?” Offit added. “It’s those sort of parameters we’ll be discussing” [CNN].
MANAGING EDITOR CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CBC.CA
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