Covid-19: positive opinion on the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11

The National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE) gave a favorable opinion on Friday for the vaccination of the youngest, while specifying that it should “under no circumstances” become compulsory.

The risk, even low, of serious form as well as the threat to the mental health of children aged 5 to 11 justify their vaccination, estimates the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE) in an opinion issued. “urgently” Friday. “Our work consisted above all in evaluating the benefit for the child, and not for the entire population, by placing the collective aspect in the background”, underlines Pr Christophe Delacourt, head of the pneumology department at Necker hospital in Paris and outside participant in the working group.

If she is “Ethically acceptable”, vaccination must be based on an informed choice by parents. She must not “never” be compulsory, say the experts, nor lead to “A stigma” unvaccinated children. CCNE is therefore opposed to the establishment of a health pass for children. Last reservation, this green light remains suspended from vaccine safety data collected in countries that have already delivered two doses to a large number of schoolchildren. A US report on adverse reactions is expected on December 21.

The highest incidence rate in the population

The Ethics Committee was seized at the end of November by the Minister of Health following the authorization of the pediatric vaccine Pfizer by the European Medicines Agency. The experts, who say they speak in a context “Of great uncertainty” linked to the Omicron variant, took into account the strong circulation of the virus in 5-11 year olds.

Children currently have the highest incidence rate in the population (1 new case per 100 children every day). “This rate is now much lower among adolescents, who are vaccinated at nearly 80%”, notes Prof. Alexandra Benachi, co-author of the report. The number of hospitalizations is also decreasing among middle and high school students. No case of generalized inflammatory syndrome (Pims) has been identified since the start of the school year in an adolescent vaccinated with two doses.

Since the start of the health crisis, there have been 1,284 hospitalizations of children aged 5 to 11 (or 0.3% of total hospital care) – including 226 in intensive care. Three deaths have been recorded. “The vast majority of admissions to critical care, and more than 50% of hospitalizations outside Pims, concern children without co-morbidity”, underlines the opinion. The risk of developing Pims is between 1 in 2000 infected children and 1 in 4000. Consequently, any increase in contamination (due to the Delta or Omicron variant) would mathematically lead to an increase in serious forms.

Reduce class closures

Another advantage of vaccination would be to mitigate the social consequences of the pandemic, in particular class closures, according to Simon Cauchemez, head of the laboratory for the mathematical modeling of infectious diseases at the Institut Pasteur, and member of the Scientific Council. The researcher updated his models on Thursday. They suggest that vaccination “Could greatly reduce the circulation of the virus in children during the next wave, which also means less impact on their daily life and better protection of fragile relatives”, he emphasizes. Even if the arrival of the Omicron variant forces scientists to review their scenarios, Simon Cauchemez believes that his model is in the direction of vaccination of 5-11 year olds: “Faced with concerns related to Omicron, we want to protect them just as we are. ”

For CCNE, vaccination will be a success if it affects 70% of the age group. For this, it should not be organized “in the rain”, but prepared with health professionals and parents of students so as to respect the specific needs of the child. Another opinion from the High Authority for Health will be made public on Monday.

Covid-19: all you need to know about childhood vaccination – Watch on Figaro Live


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