Interview with Dr. Celina M. Nadelman on WPEC/CBS12 – West Palm Beach, Florida, on Wednesday, May 12th, 2021, 12:45pm PT / 3:45pm ET

 

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  • Vaccinating children and adolescents is a crucial step in steady recovery from the pandemic in the U.S. FDA commissioner, Dr. Janet Woodcock said, “(the vaccine) brings us closer to normalcy and to ending the pandemic.”
  • Vaccination helps families return to normalcy. Currently parents grapple with how to go on with their lives when only the adults in the family are vaccinated.
  • It removes obstacles to returning to fully opened schools (a focus of Biden’s push to reopen in the fall, with $10billion allotted for Covid testing for schools).
  • In addition, vaccinating 12-15-year-olds will allow not only high school, but also middle school students to be vaccinated before the fall school year begins.
  • The Covid-19 vaccine gives children and adolescents the opportunity to have activities that they have missed for over a year, such as afterschool extracurricular activities, like sports, art and other in person activities.
  • For now, it gives tweens and teens opportunities that enrich their social emotional wellbeing, such as attending summer camp, sleepovers and get-togethers with friends.
  • The Pfizer BioNTech enrolled over 2000 adolescents (2260), ages 12-15 in the study. They received the vaccine in 2 doses, 3 weeks apart. A portion of the subjects received a placebo, in a double blinded study. The researchers found that the vaccine was 100% effective. 18 cases of symptomatic COVID-19 were found in the placebo group and none in the vaccinated group. This indicates that it works in preventing symptomatic illness. (they are still gathering data on asymptomatic infections).
  • SAFETY: it is a safe vaccine with similar side effects as in the 16-25- year-olds. However, fevers are more common in children aged 12-15 (20% vs. 17%). They even found a more robust response in this age group.
  • Trial results were as hoped for:
    • SAFE
    • GOOD IMMUNE RESPONSE
    • EFFICACIOUS
  • Why is it important to vaccinate children and adolescents?
    • Children make up 20% of the total U.S. population
    • Due to a portion of the adult population who are hesitant to get the vaccine, herd immunity is unlikely (we need 70-80% of the US to be vaccinated to get herd immunity)
    • One of the most profound outcomes of vaccinating children is prevent the spread of the virus and to prevent it from mutating further. If enough people are vaccinated and have antibodies to the virus, it will die out. If not, it will keep circulating and mutating and will never disappear.
    • The risk of a child who is infected with Covid-19 getting hospitalized is low, but it is not zero. However, the risk of getting bad symptoms or the post -Covid multi-inflammatory syndrome is much, much higher that any risks of adverse events from the vaccine.
  • Future projects:
    • If all goes well, the FDA projects EUA for the vaccine for children 2-11 years in September and infants in November.

 

 

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Celina Nadelman, M.D.

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