A top FDA vaccine official said on Tuesday that the death of children from a preventable ailment like Covid 19, regardless of how few, is motivation enough for approving a vaccine for children.
Dr. Peter Marks, director at Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said at a Covid-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project hosted town hall meeting that it is an embarrassment for a developed nation to have even 100 kids die of an infectious disease that is preventable.
FDA Vaccines Head Says US Child Corona Virus Deaths Are An Embarrassment.
He further added that in the latest wave of Covid 19, down south, thousands of children have been reported to be hospitalized.
So far, 645 children have lost their lives due to Covid 19 in the US, as per US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday that the impact on children seems to have been underestimated, given the number of severe infections in nationwide pediatric hospitals.
Marks insisted that no parent should have to go through losing a child to an ailment that can be easily prevented with a vaccine. He assured that they would only sanction a vaccine that they found to be safe as well as effective.
The American Academy of Pediatrics further added that new cases of Covid 19 infections amongst children continue to be significantly high. Even though these cases will not likely be very serious or result in death, children could suffer from long-term symptoms.
According to data published by the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday, children under 18 account for 22% of the total population, but make up for 27% of the total countrywide cases.
Vaccine for Children by early November
Currently, vaccines are only available for children aged 12 and above.
On Friday, The US Food and Drug Administration claimed that its vaccine experts are due to meet on 26th October to discuss Pfizer’s vaccine trial data on children aged 5 – 11 years.
Then, the CDC will need to sign off before the administration of the vaccine to children aged 5-11 can begin.
Brown University’s Associate Dean of Strategy and Innovation for the School of Public Health, Dr. Megan Ranney said that the public health community at large is hopeful of a vaccine for children by early November.
She insisted that since most employees who work with FDA themselves have young children or grandchildren, they are working on this issue on priority.
However, once the vaccine is out, it would be for the parents to make a decision, which could potentially be an obstacle.
As per the Kaiser Family Foundation Vaccine Monitor results, only 34% of parents with 5-11-year-old children are ready to get their child vaccinated as soon as it becomes available.
The vaccination rates amongst preteens and teens still remain the lowest according to the CDC.
Dean of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Peter Hotez told CNN that down south, only a third of children in the 12-17 age group are vaccinated.
Even though the nationwide infection rates have been on a steady decline, experts say there is still work to be done, given the high infection rates amongst children.
Dean at Brown University School of Public Health, Dr. Ashish Jha said that since the Delta variant is mostly infecting the unvaccinated population, there is still some way to go as far as the vaccination drive is concerned
Since only 56% of the US population is fully vaccinated, there is still a possibility of a surge, especially in the winter months, which are more conducive for the spread of the virus according to Dr. Hotez.
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