Parents of young children have had to wait longer than anyone to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19. Now they have to make a decision.
Federal health officials have signed the COVID-19 vaccine for young children, the last group to become eligible. But unlike older children, who at first could only get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, there are two options at first.
Is the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine superior? Many vaccine experts say this is too early to say.
For adults, the two vaccines have more in common than differences in the way they are used and the protection they offer. There are some differences between the two vaccines for young children that parents may want to consider.
The Pfizer vaccine is approved for use in children 6 months to 4 years of age. The Moderna vaccine is approved for use in children 6 months to 5 years of age. (The FDA has also approved Moderna injections for children 6 to 17 years old.)
The benefits of both vaccines outweigh the risks for young children, say experts at the FDA’s US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But they say there is not enough data to determine whether one is a better option.
Dr. Cody Meisner, Head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Tufts Children’s Hospital, said: NBC News: that more real-life data are needed before comparing the efficacy of the two vaccines.
“I will have a hard time deciding which of the two vaccines I recommend. “Statistics can deceive you when the numbers are small,” he explained. “They both seem to stimulate a pretty good antibody response.”
Philadelphia Children’s Hospital Vaccine և Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Paul Ofit said: Nature: that Pfizer և Moderna vaccines are “side by side” effective in other age groups. But this is the first age group where they are divided.
The dose of Pfizer vaccine is one tenth of the amount used in the adult version. But for this low dose, three doses are needed to provide a strong enough immune response to offer protection. The third vaccination should be given at least eight weeks after the second dose, which means that the whole vaccination process takes 11 weeks. The first two doses are given three weeks apart.
This was one of the concerns raised by the FDA Advisory Group. The second dose appears to offer very little protection, so children receiving the Pfizer vaccine will have to stay unprotected for eight weeks, said Dr. Amanda Cohn, a vaccine expert at CDC, during a panel hearing.
In addition, because the third dose was increased in later clinical trials, there is still insufficient data to determine the overall efficacy of the three-dose series. The available figures, based on only seven COVID-19 cases in the study population, are estimated to be 80% effective. But Dr. Doran Fink, deputy director of FDA’s vaccine-related products, called the figures “preliminary” and “inaccurate” during a panel meeting.
However, FDA officials say they are confident that the three-dose regimen is as supportive as the two-dose regimens that older age groups receive. This belief is based on studies showing that vaccines produce levels of antibodies that are similar to those found in adolescents and young adults.
The Moderna vaccine for young children is just two doses, given four weeks apart. Each dose is about a quarter of the adult dose. In children aged 6 to 23 months, the vaccine was 50.6% against symptomatic disease. The vaccine was effective in children aged 2 to 5 years by 36.8%. Moderna recipients may need a booster injection at some point.
One of the concerns with the Moderna vaccine is that it causes more side effects than the smaller dose of Pfizer, including fever and fatigue.
Among children aged 6 months to 2 years, 14.6% of Moderna vaccine users had a fever, which is almost double that of 8.4% of placebo children who reported a fever. STAT: reports. Only 7.4% of Pfizer recipients in this age group had a fever, compared with 6.1% in the placebo group.
Among children 2 to 4 years of age, 18.9% of Moderna recipients had a fever after the second dose, which is twice as much as 10.6% of children in the placebo group who reported a fever. In a Pfizer study, vaccine recipients in this age group reported fever at about the same rate as those who received a placebo.
In addition, about 62% of 3-5 year old children in the Moderna study experienced fatigue. After the Pfizer test, 45% of children 2-4 years old were tired.
In the Moderna study, about 1% of those who received the vaccine also had swollen lymph nodes on their armpits, such as injections, compared with 0.1% of those who received a placebo. Some Moderna vaccine recipients have also experienced nausea and vomiting.
Myocarditis, a type of heart disease associated with the vaccine in older people, does not seem to have a significant side effect on any of the vaccines for children under 11 years of age, and more real-world studies are needed, experts say.
Even with the two vaccines currently available to young children, it is still unclear whether parents will choose to vaccinate their children against COVID-19. Because young children have the lowest risk of developing coronavirus, some parents are skeptical that their children will even need it.
In the poll: According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 18% of parents of children under the age of 5 say they intend to vaccinate their children “immediately”. Another 38% said they would “wait or see”, and more than 27% said they had no plans to vaccinate their children at all. And 11% said they would do it only if it was mandatory.
Even in this population, COVID-19 can cause hospitalization and death, especially since the omicron version has become the dominant egg of the virus. By: CDC:, 485 children under 4 years old died from COVID-19. Thousands of people were hospitalized.
The number of COVID-19 hospital deaths in children is much higher when compared to influenza death-hospitalizations, said Dr. Peter Marx, director of the FDA Biological Assessment Research Center. CNN:.
“During the Omicron wave, there was still a relatively high rate of hospitalization during this period,” he said. “This level of hospitalization is actually quite disturbing. If we compare it to what we saw during the terrible flu season, it will be worse.”
The fact that the Pfizer vaccine for young children should be given in three doses may delay some parents as it will be a more logistical challenge.
“I’m very concerned that many of these children will not get the third dose because we know the struggle to get people into two,” Janet Lee, a biologist at Arkansas University of Medical Sciences, told Nature. He added that many people also did not come for stimulant doses.
In November, children aged 5-11 received the right to be vaccinated. However, only 29% of these children are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Gerber, who oversaw the CHOP part of the Moderna vaccine trial, reassured parents at a media briefing that the permits were based on quality data.
“Despite these vaccines – All COVID-19 vaccines “They came to the market quickly, no corners were cut,” he said. “Companies – the federal government – have been laser-focused on these vaccines.”
Dr. Lori Hendy, CHOP’s Director of Infection Prevention and Control, said all eligible children – even those who have already had COVID-19 – should be vaccinated.
Both types of immunity are possiblehe says the vaccine provides more specific immunity, Hendy said. But children who have recently had COVID-19 should withdraw a few months before being vaccinated.
What about children under 6 months who are not eligible for any COVID-19 vaccine?
Hendy said the best way to protect them is for the mother to be vaccinated before or during pregnancy so that she can pass on her antibodies to her baby so that everyone around the baby can be vaccinated to prevent the risk of infection.
This study was updated on Tuesday, June 21 to include CHOP Drs. Jeffrey S. Gerber և Lori Handy.