The president of Aifa, Giorgio Palù, in a hearing in the Senate Constitutional Affairs Commission: “In the school age group there is the maximum increase in Covid cases and the situation of children has changed because the virus has changed. Children become infected and can have serious consequences, they must be vaccinated “.
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Starting next December 16, the vaccination campaign against Covid for the age group will start 5-11 years after the green light first from Ema and then from Aifa. The president of the Italian Medicines Agency, Giorgio Palù, explained how this decision came about and why it is also important to immunize children by speaking at the hearing in the Constitutional Affairs Commission of the Senate, together with, among others, Silvio Brusaferro, president of ISS and member of the CTS.
Spike in Covid cases among school-age subjects
According to Palù, at the moment “in the school age group there is the maximum increase of Covid cases “and” the situation of children has changed because the virus has changed, as shown by a series of international publications. From the prototype of the Wuhan virus – he underlined – initially a series of mutations followed one another that had little ability to affect children, because they have a very low concentration of receptors of the protein S of the virus, so they became infected little, they got sick little. and they did not die. ” Delta variant changed everything, “has a 10x increased affinity for the receptor”, so “children become infected and can have serious consequences“, he added.
Data on hospitalizations among children
In numerical terms, Palù underlined that the data “speak of one in 100 who is hospitalized between 0-5 or 0-6 years, a very significant figure. And one in 4,000 can go to resuscitation, are affected by multisystem inflammatory syndrome which damages several vital organs, such as the heart, lungs and liver. So the decision about the children was made with a lot of weight in the relationship benefits-risks“, he added, regarding AIFA’s okay to administer the vaccine for the age group 5-11 years. As for the risks of the vaccine,” so far 3 billion people have been vaccinated in the world and we know the risks in the adult and adolescent population: le myocarditis they peak between 16 and 25 years, children appear to be less affected and are not serious manifestations. The situation of the myocardium is quite different when it is affected by Sar-Cov-2 infection ″, he stressed.
Returning to Aifa’s go-ahead for vaccines for children, Palù added that “precisely with regard to children we wanted to investigate the EMA dossier together with the data from the American Pediatric Association on pharmacovigilance. The Americans since they authorized the vaccine for this age group have administered doses to over 4 million subjects, while in Israel they have vaccinated over 60 thousand “.
“Monoclonals at home soon”
Finally, Palù also also added that “soon we will be available monoclonal home. New monoclonals directed against protein S are currently being evaluated, the same used to induce antibody responses with vaccines, and capable of highly effective neutralization of the virus, blocking the infection and not just the disease. I believe that soon we will have available monoclonals that can be administered subcutaneously or intramuscularly and in this case it will be possible to intervene at the patient’s home, without clogging up hospitals and emergency rooms “. The Italian Medicines Agency, moreover, announced,” is currently evaluating two specific antivirals. One is the oral antiviral molnupiravir and another is a protease inhibitor, for which we just got the dossier. Obviously it will be important to study the dossier also because it has been seen that for one the effectiveness has decreased compared to the documents presented in the initial phase “.