As the COVID-19 vaccination drive has started across the world, parents are awaiting a safe vaccine for their children. Currently, no COVID-19 vaccine is authorised for children under the age of 16. But several vaccine makers are already testing their shots in younger teens and some pre-teens, and others have also committed to doing the same soon.
Recently, 600 children between the age group of 12 and 16 and were reportedly given Pfizer/BioNtech, and there were no cases of any adverse reactions or side-effects.
The children who received approvals for vaccination had risk factors such as diabetes, obesity, chronic lung and heart diseases and cancer. This thus highlights that the COVID-19 vaccine for kids under 12 will take some more time, as children in this age group are still not part of any clinical trials.
COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids Under 12 In The Works
Vaccine trials for 12-year-olds down to 5 to 6-year-olds would likely start around April. (Photo Courtesy: Pixabay)
Dr Anthony Fauci, American physician-scientist and immunologist, said in a briefing last month that vaccine trials for 12-year-olds down to 5 to 6-year-olds would likely start around April. Though it would take a year for results to come in. The United States’ top infectious disease expert says that by fall, he expects to have data showing that children and teens age 12 to 17 can start getting ready for COVID-19 shots. Younger children could follow in the first quarter of 2022.
Pfizer, which included 16- and 17-year-olds in its Phase 3 clinical trial, has now fully enrolled its trial for 12- to 15-year-olds. Younger age groups would follow next. Pfizer, Moderna began testing its vaccine on minors, while Johnson & Johnson has committed to doing so in the first half of 2021. It will take some time, as researchers will have to confirm that the vaccines are safe and effective for each age group. They’ll also identify the optimal dose which must be effective, but with tolerable side effects.
AAP insists that COVID-19 vaccine trails must roll out for children immediately
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a call late last year for manufacturers to include children in their clinical trials because there’s no other way to judge whether the vaccines are safe and effective for them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics stressed that delaying Phase II vaccine clinical trials in children will delay the world’s recovery from COVID-19 and unnecessarily prolong its impact upon children’s education, health and emotional well-being, and equitable access to opportunities for development and social success.
Cases Of Covid-19 Among Singapore Children
KKH recently conducted a household transmission study among 137 households exposed to Covid-19. The experts found that there were 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among children. This was indicative of an adult-to-child transmission rate of about 6 percent.
Thankfully, the situation is under control in Singapore, especially when it comes to children contracting the virus. But that does not mean, parents should relax. In fact, it is time to be more vigilant, at least till vaccines for children are in sight.
How To Protect Children From COVID-19
Image courtesy: iStock
While the chances of kids being infected are less in comparison with adults, it can’t be ruled out. Children, including those below the ages of 6 years, can develop COVID-19. Many of them develop no symptoms.
Those that get sick experience milder symptoms such as low-grade fever, fatigue, and cough. While those with underlying health conditions may be at an increased risk for severe illness.
It’s also been found that some may experience severe complications, called multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). It can lead to life-threatening problems with the heart and other organs in the body. In this condition, different body parts, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs, can become inflamed.
Symptoms of MIS-C can include
Fever lasting more than a couple of days
Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
Large, swollen lymph node in the neck
Red, cracked lips
Tongue that is redder than usual
Swollen hands and/or feet
Irritability and/or unusual sleepiness or weakness
CDC further highlights that babies under 1-year-old might be more likely to have a severe illness from COVID-19.
Monitor your child for COVID-19 symptoms
Image source: iStock
As parents, you need to be extra careful and monitor your child for COVID-19 symptoms. Encourage them to share and not hide any symptoms and discomforts. Pay particular attention to the following signs:
Fever (temperature 100.4 °F or higher)
New uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing
Severe headache, especially with a fever
In case of any red flag, you must immediately rush your child to a doctor. It is extremely challenging to make children wear face masks and maintain social distancing. Therefore, parents and other caregivers should take care of the same. If anyone in your family is COVID-19 positive, sanitise the home regularly and keep the child safe. Also, don’t send the child to school or play dates to avoid the spread of the infection.
While the COVID vaccine for kids under 12 is in the pipeline, you can’t let your guard off anytime. World Health Organisation WHO advises people of all ages to protect themselves from the virus, for instance, by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene. There are several myths and social media forwards spreading fake news about coronavirus, therefore always check with reliable sources.
News Source: Times of India