Genoa. “As for adults, even for children the decision to get vaccinated is a choice of responsibility even before self-protection, but it also represents an additional weapon to return to normality and to that sociability that must be recovered as soon as possible”. Alberto Ferrando, Genoese pediatrician and president of the extra-hospital pediatricians association has no doubts and these days he is suggesting to all the families of his patients to get vaccinated from Covid-19.
“Many telephoned me this morning saying they had booked and asking me if he had done well – he says – I am reassuring them, there are many reasons for vaccinating children between 12 and 15 years and very few reasons not to do so, in addition to the go-ahead from Ema and Aifa, the main international paediatrics associations said they were absolutely in favor and even if it is true that the data available at the moment are not very many, it is also true that within a few weeks we will be able to have interesting confirmations ”.
-So Professor Ferrando, your advice is to vaccinate children between 12 and 15 years old?
“Without a doubt but with only one recommendation to parents, talk to your children, decide together with them, give them all the information and answer their questions, perhaps with the help of your doctors, this will be a great opportunity to empower them and make them understand the meaning of this gesture, at 12 they are no longer children “.
-What are the most frequent doubts on the part of children and families?
“Many point out that Covid hardly manifests itself in severe forms in children and therefore the question is whether it is worth getting vaccinated, without having long-term studies on the effects of the vaccine available. However, it is hardly the same as never. Although Covid-19 goes almost unnoticed in the majority of the pediatric population, the hospital admission rate in children is, depending on the studies, from 13 to 65% high. In addition, a multisystem inflammatory syndrome is described in children ”.
-One of the fears is that potential negative effects of the vaccine may appear many years later …
“It is an understandable fear but let’s think about how many vaccines children do as children without anyone asking questions, except for those 10% of skeptics, rather it is important to point out that we have studies on the long-term effects of the coronavirus, we talk about long-covid pediatric “.
-Are there any forms of pediatric long-covid?
“Long-Covid is the situation where some patients who have had severe to moderate or mild form of Covid-19 disease may suffer from variable and debilitating symptoms for many months after the initial infection. Some data have been published which show that, in pediatric age, at least one symptom is reported, 5 weeks after Covid-19 infection, in 13% of children under the age of 11 and in 15% of children aged between 12 and 16 years. At least 20% of adolescents who are infected carry psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, fear of what has happened or what may happen in the future. All this is avoidable with the vaccine ”.
-Boys and children also face other types of vaccinations. Is there a risk of contraindications in the administration of the Covid vaccine with other vaccines?
“In the US, pediatric associations have already published their studies, in Europe there is no single directive but I believe there are no problems, a vast amount of studies on non-Covid-19 vaccines have shown that immunogenicity and event profiles adverse reactions are generally similar when vaccines are administered concurrently and when administered alone ”.
-Are there any suggested times? Better to wait between a Covid vaccination and a different one?
“Covid-19 vaccines and other vaccines can now be administered regardless of timing. This includes the simultaneous administration of the Covid-19 vaccine and other vaccines on the same day, as well as co-administration within 14 days ”.
-What are the short-term side effects?
“As for adults, the most frequent effects can be headaches, fever, fatigue … don’t worry if they arise”.
Will the vaccine also protect children from variants?
“Yes, at least from those known at the moment but the question is different – explains Ferrando – it is now established that the more the Coronavirus is transmitted the more it has the possibility of replicating and mutating. By not vaccinating children quickly, there will always remain the possibility that the virus will continue to spread and mutate into more dangerous variants, including those that could be more dangerous for the little ones “.
-But hadn’t it been said that children infect less than adults?
“Children are not super spreaders of SARS-CoV-2 as they are for other viruses, including the flu. But the emergence of variants that spread more rapidly, coupled with the increase in vaccination rates among adults, means that soon children and adolescents may become more relevant to the spread of the infection. We remind you that in Italy there are more than 10 million individuals under the age of 18 “
-And in September the schools will start again …
“If we want school lessons to resume in person, it is worth considering, considering that most of the teachers have already been vaccinated, the vaccination of the students as well: we can’t afford another school year in dad or partly in dad like the one just finished “.
-Will you pediatricians vaccinate children and young people?
“Today and in the day of Thursday our vaccination colleagues will meet with the Region to arrive at a agreement and involve free choice pediatricians, however I cannot fail to mention that already in December 2020 we had given our full availability to be involved in the vaccination campaign, we had asked for two things that never arrived “.
-What are the requests of pediatricians to the Region regarding Covid vaccines?
“In health matters, the Region has its own autonomy and has established by law a coordinated professional updating, it would have been useful to use the training funds to find a unique strategy to communicate the subject of the pandemic to citizens – underlines the pediatrician – moreover we have long ago asked that medical representatives were also included in the task force on the Covid emergency of general medicine and free choice pediatricians, because perhaps the scientific contribution will not be on a par with professors and scientists but in the end it is we who have direct contact with people ”.