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France: some babies can be vaccinated against Covid


For the first time in France, babies can be vaccinated against Covid. Health authorities now recommend the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to certain children over six months of age, but…

The High Authority for Health (HAS) "recommends extending vaccination against Covid-19 as of today to children aged 6 months to 4 years old at risk of a serious form of the disease and death", a-t she announced on Monday.

This is the first time that an anti-Covid vaccine – only that of Pfizer / BioNTech is concerned – has been approved in France for babies.

The opinions of the HAS are theoretically advisory, but the Ministry of Health follows them almost systematically.

The recommendation of the French health authorities is however much tighter than the advice given by their European counterparts a few weeks ago.

They had recommended the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for all babies aged six months to four years, judging that the benefits outweighed the risks.

They had also recommended another vaccine, that of Moderna, for all babies from six months to five years.

These opinions were in line with the decisions taken in the United States where, for several months, all babies over six months old can be vaccinated against Covid.

Few vaccinated children

The French authorities, for the time being, have only authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Above all, as other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands have already decided, they limit its use to certain categories of babies: essentially, those who are at risk of serious complications.

This includes "children who have any of these comorbidities: congenital heart disease, chronic liver disease, chronic heart and respiratory disease (including severe asthma requiring ongoing treatment), neurological disease, primary or induced immunodeficiency by medication, obesity, diabetes, hematological malignancies, sickle cell disease and trisomy 21", lists the HAS.

Added to this are cases of “recent cancer, chronic kidney disease or neurological disability”.

Vaccination is also recommended for babies whose entourage is at risk of a severe form of Covid.

This opinion is part of a context where very few French children are vaccinated against Covid, while vaccination has been open to children under twelve since the end of 2021.

Currently, barely 5% of children aged five to eleven are vaccinated in France.

"The failure of the vaccination of children helps to explain the poorer overall results of vaccination in France compared to Italy, Spain and Portugal", noted the Court of Auditors in a recent report on the anti-Covid vaccination in France.

The Covid first represents a significant risk for the oldest.

But severe cases and deaths also exist in children, especially when they are at risk for severe forms.

different version

The Covid first represents a significant risk for the oldest.

But severe cases and deaths also exist in children, especially when they are at risk for severe forms.

To justify the opening of vaccination to certain babies, the HAS rightly pointed out that it was first of all especially on the little ones that the serious forms of Covid in children were concentrated.

According to the latest data available in France, "those under one year old accounted for 70% of hospitalizations for 0-17 year olds and 84% of critical care admissions", underlines the health authority.

She considers the efficacy data available on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in children under four years old to be convincing, while emphasizing that the risk of serious side effects does not appear to be proven.

“No death, no case of myocarditis or pericarditis was reported in the various studies carried out”, notes the HAS.

If the parents concerned decide to vaccinate their baby, it will in any case be with a different version of the vaccine than those used for adults or older children.

This is a lower dose vaccine which is given in three injections, instead of two.

The first interval should last three weeks, the second at least eight.

© 2022 AFP

Source: france24

All news articles on 2022-12-19

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