Health with Magnifying Glass
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been shown that children and adolescents do not usually show serious symptoms of this disease; however, they also have the ability to pass it on to their family and friends. For this reason, the various laboratories have already started clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of their vaccines in this population. And some countries are already immunizing this population group.
One of the latest vaccines to prove to be “safe and well tolerated” in children between the ages of three and 17 is that of the Chinese laboratory Sinopharm. Although its clinical trial was conducted between August 14 and September 24, 2020, last week, the renowned British medical journal “The Lancet” published the results of the phase 1 and 2 (randomized and double-blind) trial, which It was conducted at the Liangyuan District Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Shangqiu City in Henan, China.
The sample was of 288 and 720 children and adolescents, for phase 1 and 2, respectively, who had not had a history of Covid-19. They were grouped according to age (3-5 years, 6-12 years and 13-17 years) and the dose received. All received three doses: the second, 28 days after the first, and the third 28 days after the second.
While efficacy cannot yet be discussed, the clinical trial demonstrated that the Sinopharm vaccine is safe for children as the most common adverse effects were mild to moderate: headaches, pain in the area of application of the dose and fever.
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According to the publication of “The Lancet”, only one adverse event of concern was reported in one child in the group between six and 12 years, during the phase 2 study. The volunteer was diagnosed as allergic to various food allergens, but since this effect occurred after the application of the second dose, it was considered that it could be related to the vaccine. As a recommendation, the researchers recommend paying attention to children with a history of allergy before being immunized with this vaccine.
An important point about this vaccine is that it has a known technology: inactivated virus, which is similar to those that have been applied to minors for a long time, such as measles or polio.
“Sinopharm could be considered in children. Even if it is a known technology, it must always be proven that it is good and safe, and this study has shown that ”, indicates epidemiologist and researcher Percy Mayta-Tristán.
Despite having tried three doses, researchers have indicated that two doses of the vaccine elicited strong humoral responses (antibodies that prevent the virus from entering the cell) against SARS-CoV2 infection.
“Our findings support the use of a 4 µg dose and a two-injection regimen of BBIBP-CorV (Sinopharm vaccine) in phase 3 trials in the population under 18 years of age to further determine its safety and protective efficacy against the covid-19 “, reads in the scientific publication.
Some countries already apply doses to children
In three countries of the world (China, United Arab Emirates and El Salvador) the immunization of children under 18 years of age with the Sinopharm vaccine has already begun, despite the fact that phase 3 clinical trials continue their course and the World Organization of the Health (WHO) has not authorized its use. So far, no serious adverse events have been recorded after the application, says Percy Mayta-Tristán.
On July 20, the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council of China approved the emergency use of this vaccine in children aged three to 17 years. In the United Arab Emirates, immunization of the same age group also began last August. And in El Salvador vaccination began this week, but its approved age range is between six to 17 years.
There are other countries that have also started immunization in those under 18 years of age, although with vaccines from other laboratories. Chile has been doing it with vaccines from the Pfizer and Sinovac laboratories, and this month it became the first country in South America to begin vaccinating minors between the ages of six and 17.
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Cuba, meanwhile, is the only country in the world that has been vaccinating children older than two years with the Sovereign 02 vaccine, produced on the island. The start of immunization was at the beginning of this month.
Most countries have started vaccinating adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 with the Pfizer vaccine. On the European continent, the UK has just recommended that children between the ages of 12 and 15 receive a dose. Germany, which only allowed vaccination of minors with comorbidities, in August extended immunization for all adolescents over 12 years of age. Meanwhile, Spain, Denmark and France have already vaccinated most of their population of the same age with at least one dose.
In Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama also began vaccinating adolescents with the Pfizer vaccine. In Argentina, Paraguay and Peru they have only considered those over 12 years of age who suffer from some comorbidity. In Argentina, with Moderna’s vaccine and in the others with that of the Pfizer laboratory.
This Wednesday, President Luis Arce announced that today the vaccination of children between five and 11 years old would begin, with the doses of Sinopharm. According to INE data, the population of this age group is 1.6 million.