In Australia, no vaccine has been approved for children. The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children over 12 years of age in the United States and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended for all ages 12 and over should get vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to new modeling sponsored by the University of Melbourne’s Population Response Unit, there will be a major risk of an epidemic if children are not vaccinated as part of the general vaccine rollout.
The updated modeling builds on data from the Second Victorian Wave and shows the impacts of cases and lockdowns of different levels of immunization for the community when the country is reopened.
The new modeling presents 240 scenarios. This suggests that if the country is reopened with, say, 80% vaccination coverage for adults, amid a virus similar to the delta variant, the total number of cases will increase by two to three times as much if children do not. are not also vaccinated. This in turn will increase the risk of lockdown to suppress outbreaks.
âIn our model, we calibrate it based on the number of infections and these infections such as gravitational muscles moving towards children, and that will largely become a childhood infection,â Professor Tony Blakely said.
âIf there was no vaccination of children or even very low levels of vaccination, there would be a lot of infections, among children and that is only a reality.
“And it will also mean that because children hang out in schools and go home, this is a perfect modality to transfer the virus between us and other communities,” said Prof Blakely.
Australian Association of Primary Health Care Nurses (APNA) CEO Ken Griffin said the National Vaccine Dashboard for various age cohorts did not include any reference to young people under the age of 16 was an indicator that the issue of childhood immunization was not being considered.
âIn the way they measure the success of the deployment, they’re actually getting rid of a million and a half to 2 million people in that category (under 16s). It’s the blind spot in how they collect data to measure whether they are successful.
“It shows you how they don’t even think about children in the way they collect data because they can’t immunize them, so when it comes to vaccine rollout, they have a blind spot there.”
âThe story of this pandemic is really the blind spots where we had the problems, the hotel quarantine, the unvaccinated drivers, the aerosol leaks. It is potentially the next one.
Mr Griffin said concerns about the children had changed from last year.
“The virus is therefore evolving the idea we had last year that children are in fact not those who are a reservoir for the virus, we see with the delta data, it’s a different picture now. “
APNA President Karen Booth said schools are already vaccinating high school students.
âDeploying this in the school curriculum would make sense for everyone.
âFrom elementary school to babies, we could manage them in general practice, just like we do with the flu,â Booth said.
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute vaccine researcher Dr Jessica Kaufman said mothers typically make vaccination decisions for children.
“Mothers tend to make the majority of decisions about childhood vaccines, I would have no reason to believe this one would be any different, although I think it will involve quite a bit of discussion with health care providers. . “
Dr Kaufman said the initial rollout to children would resemble the conversation about the AstraZeneca vaccine.
âAnyone who wants their child to be vaccinated in the first place will probably need to have some sort of conversation about it.
âI’m not 100 percent sure if they’ll put it in schools. At one point I would say they would, but school environments aren’t really conducive to a long discussion about individualized consent. “
âI think that’s something to prepare and that’s where, from a research standpoint, we’re trying to look at.