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Vaccination of young children: Omicron raises the pressure of policymakers

As Omicron-led diseases spread throughout Europe, testing for children between the ages of 5 and 11 against Covid-19 is divisive: while some parents are given the opportunity to protect their children, others are unsure of the health benefits.

A group study shows that 70 percent of parents in Denmark and Spain want to vaccinate their young children, but only 40 percent in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. Less than a third of French parents say they are ready to do so.

At present, the vaccine is not compulsory for children and no country has ever ruled that children between the ages of 5 and 11 should be punished before engaging in any activity.

But governments have adopted a very different approach to vaccinating young people. Others, including Denmark, France, Spain, and Italy are encouraging all children to get a jab, while the UK chooses to offer only those at risk.

Lack of common sense means that Europe may find it difficult to persuade parents to vaccinate their children, and to turn the region into a weapon of war. the recent rise of Covid.

But international standards point to a growing debate among scientists as to whether children will benefit more personally from the vaccine than from the risk of complications that occur more frequently.

Some experts, especially in the UK, have been reluctant to vaccinate children because children are infected with Covid and cannot be hospitalized. Some say that they still need protection, especially when the virus is as widespread as it is now.

The similarity in risk profits also depends on whether policymakers consider the benefits of people living with HIV, such as keeping schools open and protecting the elderly and vulnerable.

Andrew Pollard, a pediatrician and director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said the idea of ​​a vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 was “appropriate”, as only a few get very sick.

“If you are talking about the 70-year-old, it is clear that every country believes we should be vaccinated – and now almost all adults – because of their growing numbers. But for young children, many are on the verge of getting vaccinated or not,” he said.

The EU Medical Council approved the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 in November, following the approval of older children in May. Shipping of smaller plates began arriving this month.

In the US, one of the first countries to benefit young children, family planning has become sluggish and varies from country to country. About 6m, or 22 percent, of children aged 5 to 11 have received one dose since early November.

Denmark, which started receiving the vaccine immediately, has given a single dose to 40.4 percent of the same age group.

Some government officials have urged parents to take action because some children are highly susceptible to Covid deficiency and the widespread spread of Omicron coronavirus can infect many of them. On December 24, the New York government said children’s hospitals had risen from 22 to 109 in two weeks in New York City, where Omicron was all around, and called on parents to “take immediate action” to circumcise their children.

Last month, Anthony Fauci, chief medical officer in the US, said he expected parents to move quickly. “What are they waiting for? The disease is here – protect your children, “he said.

In France, where vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11 began on December 22, Health Minister Olivier Véran said children have benefited individually from the jab mainly because the country is experiencing unprecedented levels. the rise of disease. Asked if she would give it to her own children, she replied: “Yes, without delay and as soon as possible.

“There were 145 children in the hospital last night because of Covid-19 and 27 are in the main hospital,” Veran said. “It’s true that big cases like this are very rare, but when it happens to your child, the numbers don’t matter.”

The Haute Autorité de Santé, a group of independent scientists who advise the French government, this month reported that 1,399 children were hospitalized – out of 5.8m French children aged 5 to 11 – between March 2020 and mid-December this year. There were 238 cases requiring intensive care, three deaths and 350 cases of multiple sclerosis, a rare but serious case involving some children receiving Covid.

The HAS also said it had reviewed reports of adverse effects from 10m to 14-year-olds who had been vaccinated worldwide, and found that most “were still small but encouraging over a short period of time”.

From a European repository, it detected nearly 30 horrific reports of children, including 12 cases of myocarditis, a heart-to-heart attack affecting RNA jabs messengers who tend to affect younger boys than girls. In the U.S. where a 7m dose has been given to children, 14 cases of myocarditis were reported until December 10, and most were treated and eliminated, it said.

But the risk of myocarditis was higher if the child developed Covid, according to HAS analysis, so the overall risk and benefit of childhood immunizations were good when the risk of infection in the area was low to high. When it was low, the risk of side effects outweighed the benefits, especially for young boys.

Even if only half of eligible children have been vaccinated, HAS is said to have reduced the age group in France by 75 percent in three months, which would help keep schools open.

After reading the HAS report, Olivier Chappe, an engineer living near Lyon, said he was relying on his eight-year-old son to be vaccinated, having already allowed his 12-year-old daughter to be vaccinated.

“The risk of my children becoming seriously ill or dying from Covid-19 is very low, but we do not know the long-term risks of Covid to them,” he said. “Children should get the virus if they are the only ones who have not been infected, and who knows if another species could be dangerous.”

In Dublin Ben Lyons, a father of two, has decided not to vaccinate his eight-year-old children.

“My answer is no,” he said. “We do not consider it a crime but most children are not affected by Covid.” Lyons, who works in a pet shop, also said he was suspended because his daughter was severely affected by the vaccine as a child.

While some European countries are making strides in childhood immunizations, the UK Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee (JCVI) has identified only those most at risk who need to be beaten. It just re-signed the second dose for 12- to 15-year-olds at the end of November after concerns began to rise on Omicron. In contrast, France began receiving vaccinations for those years in June and Germany in August.

Adam Finn, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Bristol who lives at JCVI, said “50:50” if the committee will provide green vaccines for all children in the coming months.

He said: “If we continue to vaccinate all children between the ages of 5 and 11, we need to make sure that we are doing the right thing for everyone. “Not just do it because it’s something we can do and we want to do something.”

Additional reports of Richard Milne in Oslo, Kiran Stacey in Washington and Joe Miller in Frankfurt

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