Infection won’t be child’s play when teens get jabs: Expert | Patna News

How safe is Covaxin for children aged 15-18?
I think when someone talks about vaccinating vulnerable groups such as children, the most crucial point that they think about is safety. This was also the most important factor for government agencies before recommending the vaccine for children. Covaxin is a dead vaccine. This group of vaccines has the best safety profile and has been approved for use in children by most international and national experts, including the Indian Academy of Pediatrics. The national level expert group recommended it for use after reviewing a study of Covaxin in India. The study, which was recently published, was conducted in several centers on thousands of children. No serious side effects were found and the vaccine was found to be effective. This is advised with very good intentions.
If all adults in the family are vaccinated, why should children be vaccinated too?
Now we must try to end the pandemic. This can only be achieved when the herd immunity of the population exceeds a certain limit (perhaps 70% to 80%) so that the virus cannot circulate in the population. The virus is looking for individuals who have had neither the disease nor the vaccine to survive. Children under the age of 18 are a large group who have not yet received the vaccines. That makes uninfected, unvaccinated children a good place for the virus to survive. So by vaccinating your children, you increase their protection against this virus and its complications, such as MISC (which can lead to hospitalization and death). You are also helping to end this pandemic by contributing to an immunity pool.
There are still infections and reinfections after vaccination. So why should children be vaccinated?
We have three levels of protection. The first prevents the virus from entering our body (local mucosal immunity). The second is action by specific available antibodies, which neutralize these viruses and prevent infection (even if the virus has entered our body). The third is that the virus cannot cause serious disease by stopping its multiplication in the body (T-cell response). All three are essential. Most covid vaccines are able to mount the third type of response very effectively, which is actually the most important, which could protect against hospitalization and death. Most vaccines available for Covid are able to do this in most cases. Even going forward, your third level of protection may still save you from hospitalization and death if you received these two primary doses of vaccines.
Can side effects occur, as in adults?
No major side effects are expected with this safest kind of vaccine, but we have a system called Adverse Event After Immunization (AEFI) surveillance. If side effects occur after vaccination, they will be reported (whether or not due to vaccine), investigated and communicated as to whether this could be due to the vaccine or not. This is very important when we plan such large-scale vaccination campaigns. In some cases, we expect minor side effects such as those seen in adults, such as low-grade fever, pain and swelling at the vaccination site. For this, medicines such as paracetamol can be taken if necessary. More than that, you must report to the place where you received the vaccination.
What about vaccinating those who have had a recent Covid infection?
Recent studies show that those who have had Covid in the past and received the vaccination have the highest levels of antibodies. Therefore, vaccination should be offered to all eligible children, whether they have Covid or not.
Should children suffering from cancer, allergies, seizures, autoimmune disorders or certain haematological conditions be vaccinated?
I think that children who suffer from cancer, allergies, seizures, autoimmune diseases and some hematologic disorders are the ones who need more protection than healthy children. They are the priority groups for such vaccination. Because it is an inactivated vaccine, Covaxin is not harmful to immunocompromised people.
How long does the effect of two doses last in children?
Studies have shown that high antibody titres persist for six to nine months after vaccination. After that, antibody titers may decrease, but the third kind of response (T-cell) is expected to last much longer in most cases (which is enough to protect you from serious illness and death).

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