Europe is experiencing yet another wave of COVID-19 infections. Today, unvaccinated people are the ones who most end up in hospital and children, not having severe symptoms, are experiencing an increase in infections because they are not vaccinated. There are closed schools, classes in isolation, and the education sector is one of the most affected in this new wave.

Now, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has just authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years old.

The discussion of the vaccination of children against COVID-19 is not simple and even less unanimous. But the European Medicines Agency has already authorized vaccination in these children under 12 years of age.

The difference compared to those over 12 years of age is in the dosage, which is three times lower. For 5-11 it approves 10 micrograms against 30 micrograms in teenagers.

Pfizer vaccine is authorized for children from 5 to 11 years old

The EMA today issued a statement explaining that the expert committee concluded that the benefits of immunizing these children outweigh the risks, particularly in children with comorbidities associated with increased risk for covid.

The study in children aged 5 to 11 years showed that the immune response to Comirnaty given at a lower dose (10 micrograms - µg) in this age group was comparable to that seen with the highest dose (30 µg) in the 16 to 25 age group. years old

In the aforementioned clinical trial, which involved about two thousand children, of the 1305 who received the vaccine, "three developed COVID-19 compared to 16 of the 663 children who received placebo, with the vaccine being 90.7% effective in preventing COVID -19 symptomatic (although the true rate could be between 67.7% and 98.3%)", they explain.

The agency also states that the side effects are very similar to those seen in people over 12 years old: pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, redness and swelling at the injection site, muscle pain and chills.

It is now up to the European Commission to follow up the process. This week, its spokesperson for Health, Stefan de Keersmaecker, had already guaranteed the speed of the process:

For our part, the Commission will work very quickly. Once we receive the green light from the European Medicines Agency, the Commission has lightning-fast procedures for the authorization of the vaccine

Even so, each Member State will have the independence to decide whether or not to proceed with vaccination for minors in this age group. In Portugal, the pediatric scientific community is working on an opinion on immunization in the 5-11 age group, at the request of the DGS. In addition, the Portuguese Society of Pediatrics and its Commission on Vaccines, anticipated the EMA and, last Tuesday, issued a favorable opinion on the administration of the vaccine against covid in these children.

Do you have children in this age group? If vaccination progresses in Portugal, will you vaccinate them?

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