The SAR government announced last Tuesday (January 11) that it would lower the age threshold for Kexing's new crown vaccine to 5-year-old children, and the vaccine can be vaccinated this week at the earliest.
The advisory committee of experts on the new crown vaccine, which met last Wednesday, also recommended that children between the ages of 5 and 11 be allowed to receive one-third of the adult dose of the vaccine.
Cheng Chung-tai, a former Legislative Council member with a 4-year-old daughter, once questioned the risks of child vaccination, threatening to consider leaving Hong Kong once the authorities mandated child vaccination.
In fact, among parent groups, "vaccine hesitancy" is quite common even if there is no new crown epidemic. However, both mainland and foreign clinical data have confirmed that children under the age of 12 can be vaccinated against the new crown vaccine. Of course parents need to believe in science, and The SAR government should make more efforts to explain, and never underestimate the love and habit of thinking as a parent.
Children are more likely to have long-term sequelae after recovering from the new coronavirus, (Getty)
Data show children are more susceptible to Omicron
The crew's epidemic prevention loopholes caused the mutant virus Omicron to enter the community. The fifth wave of the epidemic is imminent. The SAR government has strictly tightened social measures and announced that the vaccination age of Sinovac vaccine will be lowered to children aged 5 to 11, and the vaccination will start as soon as this week. , It is expected that after the Lunar New Year holiday, an outreach team will be arranged to give injections at the school.
Cai Ruolian, deputy director of the Education Bureau, said that vaccination has not been considered as a necessary condition for students to return to school; however, there is still a considerable degree of "vaccine hesitancy" among parents.
In fact, many people have been vaccinated with different vaccines since birth. This has always been considered the most effective preventive intervention method to prevent infectious diseases. However, there are always some people in society who doubt the effectiveness of vaccination based on medical, ethical, legal and other factors.
The sudden attack of the new coronavirus, and the relatively short time for the development and clinical trials of related vaccines, naturally deepened the worries of these people to a certain extent, especially parents.
Their common perception is that the benefits of vaccinating children are high risk, because most children infected with mild symptoms and low mortality.
However, among the confirmed cases in Tianjin, the city where the Omicron outbreak first appeared in the mainland, a new feature has emerged: nearly half of the confirmed cases are school children.
Zhang Boli, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said that from the epidemic in Tianjin, it can be seen that the proportion of young groups such as primary and secondary school students is relatively high.
American medical experts have found that children infected with Omicron usually do not show symptoms of the new crown, but are more likely to have fever, sore throat and other conditions that are easily diagnosed as respiratory infections.
If a child is diagnosed, there is a great chance of infecting other members of the family, thus becoming the source of family infection.
Although Omicron itself is less pathogenic, its extremely high transmissibility may lead to more severe illness and death.
Jin Dongyan, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong, also said that judging from the infection data of Omicron abroad, the proportion of infected children is indeed higher, and the infected children are hospitalized and seriously ill.
Take Seattle Children's Hospital as an example. After the Omicron epidemic spread, the positive rate of children's new crown test has been as high as 21%, while the highest rate during the outbreak of the Delta variant strain was only 3%.
World Health Organization surveillance data show that the proportion of children infected with the new coronavirus in the world has indeed increased. The number of confirmed cases in children under the age of 5 has increased from 1% in January 2020 to 2% in July 2021. 14-year-olds rose from 2.5% in January 2020 to 8.7% in July 2021.
Zhang Boli once suggested: "From the current epidemic investigation in Tianjin, it is found that Omicron infection has a clear trend of younger age. At the same time, the vaccination rate of children and adolescents is relatively low, and the awareness of active medical treatment is not strong, which is a weak link in epidemic prevention and control, and should be highly concerned."
Xu Shuchang said that the two vaccines currently used in Hong Kong have been vaccinated by a large number of children overseas.
(Photo by Luo Junhao)
Do not let children become the source of infection in the family
If children are diagnosed, they have a great chance of infecting other members of the family, thus becoming the source of family infection.
A study in JAMA Pediatrics found that compared with other family members, children are more likely to infect their families after being infected. Experts have investigated the infection situation of more than 6,000 families in Ontario, Canada It was found that these families had children under the age of 18 diagnosed with new coronary pneumonia, and 27.3% of them had internal infection, and the younger the children, the higher the probability of family infection after infection.
Why are children more likely to infect their families?
According to Kong Fanyi, a clinical professor at the Department of Internal Medicine of the University of Hong Kong, children are more likely to have "asymptomatic infection" after being infected with the virus, and because their own immune response is weak, it is usually difficult to clear the virus, which makes them high virus amount of hotbeds.
Because of their young age, these children often need close family care after returning home. In addition, they usually do not wear masks and maintain social distance at home, so they are more likely to infect their family members.
In the same way, when a child goes to school and is infected at school, the child will become the first infected member of the family, and then has a high chance of infecting relatives who live with them, especially the elderly at home.
With the long-term low vaccination rate of the elderly in Hong Kong, vaccinating children can indirectly form herd immunity and avoid or reduce the harm of infectious diseases to life and health as much as possible. It is like building a firewall to block the further spread of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. .
In the past few weeks, many young children in Hong Kong have been infected at home. Liu Yulong, chairman of the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases, mentioned that with the sluggish vaccination rate of only 23% of the elderly over the age of 80, once the vaccination rate of children is insufficient, it will lead to A large-scale outbreak will collapse paediatric services and greatly increase the overall mortality rate.
He emphasized that "the benefits of the first injection for the elderly or the first injection for young people are far greater than the third injection for any citizen" and should "force both ends to get injections" to prevent severe illness.
Liu Yulong, chairman of the Scientific Committee on Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, said that "both ends should be forced to get injections" to prevent severe illness.
(Photo by Luo Junhao)
Kexin Fubitai has been confirmed to be safe and effective
A survey by Israeli health experts found that 11% of patients diagnosed with the new crown between the ages of 3 and 18 continued to have symptoms after recovery, and the older the child, the more likely to have long-term sequelae.
As the Omicron variant virus hits the peak of the epidemic again, many countries around the world have begun to relax the age limit for children's vaccination: at least 2.6 million children aged 5 to 11 have been vaccinated for the first dose of the new crown vaccine in the United States, and Colombia and Argentina are 3 years old. Children from China can be vaccinated against Chinese vaccines, Venezuela is vaccinating Cuban and Chinese vaccines for children over two years old, and Australia is vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 from January 10.
In the mainland, children under the age of 12 have been vaccinated on a large scale. The latest statistics show that as of January 10, children aged 3 to 17 in the mainland have received nearly 472 million doses of the vaccine, of which 250 million doses are subject The vaccine was launched, and nearly 120 million doses were also administered to young children aged 5 to 11.
"Actual combat" data shows that the probability of serious adverse reactions is less than one in a million.
As for which vaccine to choose?
Xu Shuchang, a member of the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee and Chair Professor of the Department of Respiratory Medicine at CUHK, said that the two vaccines currently used in Hong Kong have been vaccinated by a large number of children overseas, confirming that the vaccines are safe and effective. But there are also more local side effects, and Sinovac has fewer side effects, but the antibody capacity is relatively low.”
At the end of last year, the scientific committee of the SAR government reviewed the Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical test data provided by Sinovac, as well as the interim data of Phase 3, confirming that Sinovac vaccine has stable and good immunogenicity in minors.
Since the "Children's Forpidil" vaccine is indefinitely available in Hong Kong, Hong Kong will follow the British practice and allow the use of the adult Forbidix vaccine.