Faced with the concern of parents and caregivers about the vaccination of children against Covid-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) released, on Thursday (12), a podcast with the participation of the pediatrician and chief scientist of the WHO, Soumya Swaminathan, who clarifies the main doubts on the subject.
In the episode, the scientist reinforces that the WHO recommends vaccination against the disease for children five years of age and older.
Soumya points out that most healthy children and adolescents infected with the new coronavirus do not have serious conditions. However, in rare cases, unvaccinated children can develop serious illness, especially those who have other illnesses such as diabetes, severe asthma, and other respiratory conditions, as well as obesity and conditions such as Down syndrome, myopathies, muscle weakness, and neurological changes.
“These children are at a higher risk of developing serious illness. Furthermore, we know that a percentage of people, including children, develop symptoms after recovering from Covid, which is called post-Covid syndrome or long Covid. It could be fatigue, headaches, different types of symptoms that sometimes persist for weeks or months.”
The pediatrician also recalled that in rare cases the development of an inflammatory disease called Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (SIM-P) has been observed, after the acute phase of Covid-19 infection.
“That’s why it’s good to protect children and the WHO recommends that children over five years of age can receive the Covid vaccination. So the first reason is to protect children from getting sick and getting this long-term Covid syndrome. The second reason is to reduce transmission in the community,” she said.
“And thirdly, the point of vaccinating children and teenagers along with adults is so that economies can open up, educational institutions can stay open without, you know, the risk of having to close repeatedly,” Soumya added.
The safety of immunizations against Covid-19 is one of the main concerns of parents and guardians. The WHO chief scientist assured that the vaccines are safe and stated that the WHO examines the dossiers that are provided by the companies and provides the emergency use listing.
According to her, many countries have licensed different vaccines for use in children based on their own regulatory agencies, having examined the data on safety and efficacy and the overall safety profile of Covid-19 vaccines is considered excellent.
“The best thing is to follow the guidelines of the countries, because they all looked very carefully and made sure that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks. And so far from the millions of children who have been vaccinated around the world, we know that side effects are very rare. Sure, kids can have a fever, some pain at the injection site, maybe some body ache that lasts a day or two, just like adults do,” she said.
How to protect children who have not yet been vaccinated
The WHO scientist also made prevention recommendations aimed at countries where the Covid-19 vaccine is not yet available for children.
The measures also contribute to the protection of children under five years of age, who have not yet received immunization against the disease.
“There are many other things we can do to keep children safe, particularly high-risk children. We can all wear masks when we are in an environment where we meet a lot of strangers outside the family. This could also be in educational institutions. All children over the age of six should be encouraged to wear a mask when we are in these crowded places,” she said.
The researcher also recommends that families carry out as many outdoor activities as possible with their children, in addition to keeping doors and windows open in closed environments such as schools.
“Washing your hands regularly protects against Covid as well as other infectious diseases. And just as importantly, all adults who are in contact with these children, if they are vaccinated, will not only be protecting themselves against serious illness, but also reducing their risk of spreading the infection,” she concluded.
Source: CNN Brasil