What side effects can kids from 5 to 11 years feel after covid-19 vaccine?
The CDC has given the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine the green light for use in kids five to 11, so what side effects could they have after receiving their jab?
On Tuesday, an advisory panel to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unanimously supported broad use of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine in children between the ages of five and 11. Hours later CDC director Rochelle Walensky gave the go-ahead to begin the vaccination campaign for around 28 million kids in the United States.
The panel and Dr Walensky felt that the benefits from the vaccine outweighed the risk from covid-19. The latest wave of infections from the Delta variant saw a surge in pediatric hospitalizations and forced schools to postpone restarting in-person learning.
Concerns centered over rare cases of heart inflammation
Much of the advisory panel’s discussion was about rare cases of heart muscle inflammation, myocarditis, that have been linked to the mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna. However, experts looking at recent studies think that it shouldn’t be of concern to parents. The absolute risk is very small, with roughly 11 cases per every 100,000 vaccinated male patients between 16 and 29, the group that appears to be most affected.
That is the low end of the of number of cases per 100,000 that generally develop from infection with a virus or bacteria every year. Because the Pfizer vaccine rollout for adolescents age 12 to 15 began in May, the data on this age group is currently limited, but myocarditis appears to be less common. At any rate most cases are mild and can be resolved quickly.
Covid-19 infection is a greater risk
There is a greater risk of children developing complications from a covid-19 infection or even dying. Although covid-19 appeared to affect children less at the beginning of the pandemic, since the onset of the Delta variant pediatric wards across the US have been overflowing with younger patients. So far, 657 children under age 18 have died as a result of complication from covid-19.
According to CDC data, at least 5,200 children in the US have experienced multisystem inflammatory syndrome which causes different parts of the body to become inflamed. The potential damage done by the virus to the heart and other organs has been observed to be more severe and frequent from covid-19 infection. There is also the risk of long-term covid where after an initial infection, individuals, including children, remain sick for months.
During the advisory panel’s meeting Dr Walensky said the risk from covid-19 "is too high and too devastating to our children and far higher than for many other diseases for which we vaccinate children.” She also talked about the detrimental social and mental health impacts on children that have come from school closures due covid-19 outbreaks.
Pfizer’s covid-19 vaccine effective and safe in kids
The Food and Drug Administration gave the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine emergency use authorization on Friday after its own advisory panel examined the safety data provided by pharmaceutical company from over 2,200 participants between the ages of 5 and 11. Their results showed an almost 91 percent efficacy in the age group. The data for side effects of fever, headaches and chills was comparable to that for 16- to 25-year-olds but milder and reported less frequently than for 12- to 15-year-olds.
With the green light from the CDC vaccines could be available for five- to 11-year-olds starting Wednesday. “The program will ramp up over the coming days, and fully up and running during the week of November 8,” President Biden said in a statement. “Parents will be able to bring their children to thousands of pharmacies, pediatrician’s offices, schools, and other sites to get vaccinated.”