Thousands of young people are flocking to anti-Covid vaccination centers throughout Italy in these days, giving a great example of behavior and social responsibility.
The moment on the New England Journal of Medicine the results of the study that led the American (Fda), European (Ema) and Italian (Aifa) regulatory agencies to approve the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine also for adolescents between 12 and 15 years are published. The data says that, in this small and particular segment of the population, the vaccine works extremely well: it induces an antibody response equal to – if not better – than adults and gives 100% protection from infection.
In our country there are already many Regions who have opened reservations: but is it appropriate to vaccinate children of this age group? The answer is yes: the individual and social benefits associated with this choice are unquestionable.
While it is true that adolescents rarely get Covid-19, it is equally true that, at times, they can develop a new and very serious disease induced by Covid: Mis-C (Multi Organ Inflammatory Syndrome Covid), observed for the first time in Bergamo and in the United Kingdom. A systemic inflammatory disease similar to Kawasaki syndrome, which we still know very little: we do not understand, for example, why it affects some children and not others, but unfortunately we know that it can cause them to be admitted to intensive care. The vaccine, therefore, in addition to protecting against Covid, would also protect against the possible subsequent development of Mis-C.
As always happens when from experimentation controlled clinic moves to mass vaccination, the regulatory agencies will continue to carefully monitor each phase. In Israel, the possibility has been raised that the vaccine is associated with very rare cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the myocardium). To date, there is no evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between the vaccine and this complication, which is usually controllable. According to the Center for Disease Control which monitors vaccination in the US – the country with the highest number of vaccinated people – there is no evidence of an increase in the incidence of myocarditis nor of a cause-and-effect relationship. Israel itself and the regulatory agencies in the United States, Europe and our country agree that the benefit-risk ratio is clearly in favor of vaccinating adolescents.
And, at a time when the elderly population numbers vaccinated go up, vaccinating adolescents as quickly as possible with two doses means fastening them, in view of the summer and the subsequent reopening of schools, a safety belt against possible variants that, blocked in elderly people, could prove aggressive in most Young people.
If the individual benefit of vaccinating adolescents, as we have seen, is clear, so is the social one: putting children in safety means on the one hand securing the school, which is fundamental for the future of the entire country, on the other, protecting the people with whom young people come into contact, in the family and beyond. Between them, over 2 million over 60s not yet vaccinated, who are most at risk in case of contagion, and frail people: cancer patients, autoimmune patients treated with drugs that suppress immune defenses, those who have undergone transplants or are on dialysis … The concern that vaccines are less effective on these people with compromised immune systems are strong: hence the importance of protecting them as much as possible by vaccinating the rest of the population.
We are not afraid, therefore, to vaccinate our 12-15 year old children against Covid. And let’s not forget the importance of other vaccinations, in this age group: that against the papilloma virus, which protects against cancer of the uterus and head and neck, and the recall for exanthematous diseases. Vaccines save lives: let’s use them, therefore, and share them with the countries where, unfortunately, 1 in 5 children still die because they do not have access to the most basic ones.
June 5, 2021 (change June 5, 2021 | 07:18)
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