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COVID vaccines protect children: where are we now and how did we get here?

At the 2022 AAP National Conference & Exhibition, a professor of pediatrics describes the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines for children, safety considerations, and urges physicians to continue to urge caregivers to get their children vaccinated.

With 19,082 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 children in the population, said Emmanuel B. Walter, MD, MPH, professor of Pediatrics, Duke Human Vaccine Institute Duke University School of Medicine, Durham North Carolina, and the explosion of variants in 2022, the rationale for the COVID-19 vaccine for children is simple, and something to continue to remind caregivers: it will prevent severe COVID-19 disease, hospitalizations, death, and complications such as MIS-C in children; and it will decrease the number of infections in children and thereby further decrease transmission of infection to others.

Walter went through a careful review of the current vaccines available and those being studies for children of various age groups, which includre AZD1222 (the AstraZeneca vaccine); Janssen COVID-19 vaccine; NVX-CoV2373 (Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine); and BNT162b2 (Pfizer/BioNTech).

“The future challenges,” observed Walter, “is in evaluating vaccines containing contemporary variants in children (Omicron BA.4/BA.5); development of a more broadly protective vaccine against coronaviruses in general; and increasing parental confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.”

Finally, Walter urged clinicians, “Consistently recommend and offer COVID-19 vaccines for children and adolescents in your practice, and monitor uptake of COVID-19 vaccine among vaccine eligible children and adolescents in your practice.”

Reference
Walter EB. Covid vaccines protect children: Where are we now and how did we get here? 2022 AAP National Conference & Exhibition. October 8, 2022. Anaheim, California.