US health experts warn about giving coronavirus jabs to children

Top vaccine scientists advising the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have warned against giving children a vaccine against the coronavirus. The scientists said COVID-19 develops differently in children: Most get mild or almost no symptoms, with a small proportion developing multi-inflammatory syndrome – which can be fatal. Vaccines currently in phase three trials base their data from adult participants. Thus, they advised that children should not be administered with a COVID-19 vaccine – until there is more data showing it is safe for children.

Dr. Cody Meissner, pediatric infectious diseases chief at Tufts Children’s Hospital in Boston, said he would want to be “very convinced” that a coronavirus vaccine is safe for children before giving it the green light. He said during an Oct. 22 FDA hearing that “the pattern of disease is quite different in children,” and lumping them with adults would be a cause for “discomfort.”

Another health expert expressed concern that there was insufficient evidence to support vaccinating children against COVID-19. Dr. Luigi Notarangelo, head of the Laboratory of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology at the National Institutes of Health, said safety studies “long enough in duration to include the potential appearance of [multi-inflammatory syndrome] and actually be large enough to take those into consideration” were needed before proceeding with any juvenile vaccinations.

The warnings against juvenile vaccination came as the first group of American teenagers received a dose of the potential COVID-19 shot. Pfizer recently received approval to expand trials for its coronavirus vaccine to children as young as 12, emphasizing collecting safety and immune system response data. The drug maker’s coronavirus jab, developed in partnership with BioNTech, was the only one with trials on juvenile participants as of writing.

Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine trials on children align with the approval of its COVID-19 shot, which President Donald Trump himself insinuated in September. Dr. Matt Hepburn, head of vaccine development at Operation Warp Speed, said: “As these trials roll out, our intention is to do additional trials to understand [the vaccine’s effect on children.” However, Hepburn did not say how many children would need to receive the COVID-19 jab to confirm its safety and effectiveness….

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