Countless parents had to wait a long time until there was finally news about a vaccination for children against the coronavirus. This week the time had come. The first corona vaccine for children under the age of twelve could be approved very soon. The company Biontech would like to apply for approval of its corona vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11 within the next few weeks. This is what Özlem Türeci (medical director and co-founder of Biontech) explained to “Spiegel” on Friday.
Facts about the Biontech vaccine for children
The vaccine to be used in children is the same as in adults. However, the dosages are adjusted according to age. In the age range from 5 to 11 years, 10 micrograms are used. This corresponds to a third of the dose for adults.
The relevant study data should be available to the responsible authorities by the end of September. Data on even younger children should also follow by the end of the year. In all likelihood, you can expect a vaccination offer there in the coming spring. For children aged 5 to 11, however, things could go much faster now. Some media are already speculating about approval in October. However, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) emphasizes that there is currently no time frame for a possible approval.
This caution is absolutely understandable, since children are a very sensitive group for several reasons. On the one hand, children are growing. The body weight of a 5 year old boy is different from that of a 10 year old. A flat dose of 10 micrograms per vaccination must be suitable for the entire age range if it is submitted for approval in this way. In addition, one has to keep in mind that the immune system of children (according to current scientific standards) is mature from around the age of 12. The vaccine may have other requirements in a child’s body. In this case, tolerability and effectiveness are once again examined very carefully.
Are there reasons not to vaccinate your children?
Once approved, a vaccine has been shown to be safe for children. The EMA is considered to be particularly strict and thorough. However, there may be medical reasons why you should only have your child vaccinated after consulting a doctor, or better not at all. These include:
- pronounced allergies (also to food)
- severe immunodeficiency
- Children who have had a graft inserted
- Rheumatic diseases (however, the German Society for Rheumatology recommends vaccination)
Basically, of course, it is also the case in early childhood that children with chronic diseases or a weakened immune system can participate more safely in daily life with a vaccination against Covid-19.
What vaccination reaction should one expect in children?
Biontech’s vaccine is considered “reactogenic”. This means that you generally have to reckon with reactions from the body to the vaccine. According to the RKI, these include pain at the injection site (91%), exhaustion (78%), headache (76%), chills (49%), myalgias (sensation of pain in the muscles) (42%), fever (24%), joint pain (20%), swelling (9%) and redness (9%) at the injection site. (Source: FAQ RKI)
How exactly the rate of vaccination campaigns will be on children under the age of 12 can only be conclusively reported when the study results become known. However, the RKI points out in its FAQ that vaccination reactions were observed somewhat more frequently in children from 12 to 17 years of age than in 18-year-olds.
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