Covid-19 has proven to be a formidable virus for kids and adults, according to the AAP, killing close to one million people in the United States and many more millions abroad. Multiple vaccines have been formulated in the US and abroad in places as far away as Japan, China, and as close as Cuba. Still, children age five and under remain a vulnerable target for this deadly illness — yet an effective dose of a current vaccine has not been approved for these kids by our FDA. Yes, pharmaceutical firms want to collect more data to ensure safety and efficacy.
The concept of erring on the side of safety is understood, but when a virus can prove fatal, what is our acceptable margin of error here? Do we stand back and allow children to die, or do we act and know there will be those who won’t survive despite the vaccine? These are dreadful options to consider, but what are our choices? Obviously, we need to be cautious.
Vaccines are available and being distributed for kids over five years of age, but the possible three-dose regime for those under five may not be released until April 2022. There appears to be a need for more data analysis even as the number of kids in hospitals undergoes a shift upward. The effectiveness of even smaller doses of the vaccines in kids varies, with some children only showing 60% effectiveness against the virus.
“Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said the drug regulator had sought to act swiftly to protect children against omicron as Covid hospitalizations among the youngest rose to record levels in recent weeks. However, the FDA’s safety and efficacy standards required the agency to wait for more information on the third dose, Woodcock said.”
Parents are left to wonder if it’s better to take a chance on two small doses for their children under five than to wait for data on a three-dose regime. The stress must be incredible for these parents, and it has to be transmitted to the children in subtle ways. How will this bode for their futures down the line?
Everyday life has been put further on hold as the safety of the infants and toddlers must come first when planning any outside-the-home activities. How will this self-isolation affect the entire extended family? Many social variables are at play here as the question of medical safety is parsed against the group’s wishes.
We are in a minefield of medical complications for very young children, and no matter how we move forward, there will be consequences we never anticipated. Helping both parents and kids with whatever comes down the road must be considered now. Even before administering the vaccines, the research grants should be written now. Acting otherwise would be to blindside ourselves and shortchange the kids.
Yes, this is a short post, but I believe it needs to be published quickly to prepare for what is coming our way. Gathering information is vital, and discussions must be ongoing for the kids’ sake.