Covid-19: vaccination of children at risk of severe form launched on Wednesday

Children with a serious or chronic pathology can be vaccinated as of Wednesday, in accordance with the recommendations of the High Authority of Health.

As with adults, certain serious or chronic pathologies make children more at risk of developing a severe form of Covid, even though these fortunately remain rare. The government has therefore decided to open their vaccination on Wednesday, following the recommendations of the High Authority for Health (HAS) and the Orientation Council of the vaccine strategy (COSV).

The affected children suffer from chronic hepatic, renal or cardiac and respiratory disease (including severe asthma requiring continued treatment), neurological disease, cancer during treatment, primary or drug-induced immunodeficiency, obesity , diabetes, severe neuromuscular disability, hematologic malignancy, sickle cell anemia or trisomy 21.

“The benefit-risk balance clearly on the profit side”

These pathologies do not necessarily have points in common, but observations in real life have shown that they are accompanied by a serious excess risk. “The Pandor study has shown that 21% of children aged 0 to 17 who have suffered from a severe form of pediatric Covid-19 presented with co-morbidities, while they represent only 6% of their age group”, indicates the High Authority of Health.

“In the case of these children, the benefit-risk balance clearly tilts towards the benefit”, specifies Pr Élisabeth Bouvet, president of the technical committee on vaccinations at the HAS. The protection conferred by the pediatric Pfizer / BioNTech, three times less dosed than its adult version, is estimated at 90% against symptomatic forms. “For severe forms, the gain has not yet been calculated: the trial did not contain any in the vaccinated group or in the placebo group, because it is a rare event”, specifies Pr Bouvet.

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Two doses 21 days apart

Vaccination against Covid is also recommended for children in the entourage of immunocompromised people: not only is the incidence very high at the moment among 6-10 year olds (990 cases per 100,000 inhabitants), but we know that they are many develop asymptomatic forms.

To meet the estimated needs of 400,000 children, Paris has ordered 1.9 million doses of the pediatric vaccine Pfizer / BioNTech. Each child receives two doses 21 days apart, unless he has already contracted the disease (one dose), which must be systematically checked with a rapid serological test (Trod), advises the COSV. In fact, it is estimated that at least 18% of children of this age have already contracted the Covid.

“We will have to call and convince the families”

In practice, vaccination will be provided in hospitals and specialized care centers where these children are followed, or in certain vaccination centers where a dedicated sector will be created (at least one per department, according to the Ministry of Health). No prescription is necessary because each vaccination will be preceded by an interview with a doctor responsible for assessing the patient’s state of health.

In town, pediatric vaccination is currently reserved for volunteer doctors. The latter were able to order a single vial of ten doses, which should be delivered to them between 24 and 28 December. “We will have to call and convince the families of the children concerned, believes Dr Brigitte Virey, president of the French National Union of Paediatricians. Many parents unfortunately see this vaccine as a “risk” that they say they are prepared to take for themselves, but not for their child. Communication was poorly conducted from this point of view. ”


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