The Pediatric Society of Cyprus during yesterday's meeting of its Board of Directors studied in detail the issue of vaccination of children over 12 years against Covid-19 disease and unanimously came to the following conclusions:
- It is obvious that in the middle of summer we are experiencing the 4th wave of the pandemic, with the prevailing strain at the moment being the Delta variant of the Sars-Cov2 virus which is characterized by increased transmissibility at all ages.
- The cases of Covid-19 disease in our country have already exceeded 100,000 and 20% of them concern children (53% in children> 12 years old).
- The data from the analysis of recent cases and increasing hospitalizations due to Covid-19 show that they mainly concern unvaccinated people and therefore it is reasonable to observe increased morbidity in childhood.
- The age group of children> 12 years is characterized by intense social activity, reduced compliance with health precautions, frequent contact with younger children and possibly unvaccinated elderly and therefore contributes significantly to the spread of the virus.
- Achieving collective immunity and preventing the development and spread of new strains of the virus requires the fastest possible vaccination, if possible of the entire population that remains unvaccinated and can (in the absence of medical and age reasons) be vaccinated.
- Although the majority of childhood cases are mild, the possibility of serious complications from Covid-19 infection (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome – MIS-C, which is more severe in adolescence or long Covid syndrome) is real.
- The resumption and ensuring the smooth operation of all levels of education from next September requires the strengthening of the wall of immunity. Preserving the psycho-emotional health of children, which has been so affected by the pandemic and the prolonged periods of inclusion and abstinence from social activities, presupposes the fastest possible return to our old normalcy.
- The need to safeguard the vaccination coverage of children who have inevitably been affected by the pandemic and the delays that have already occurred in the vaccination of the basic vaccination program raises further concerns in the event of an extension of the current situation.
- There has been accumulated experience with the use of approved mRNA vaccines in children> 12 years of age for several weeks, in a sufficient number of countries (US> 9,000,000 doses have been administered), with strong evidence of their efficacy. The only serious reported side effect is the rare chance of developing myocarditis in 1-4: 100,000 vaccinated children. The vast majority of these cases showed a mild illness, with an excellent outcome. The other side effects that occurred were the usual vaccinations with most basic vaccines and were all mild and transient. The strict supervision carried out by the competent scientific bodies and regulatory authorities (eg FDA, EMA) as well as the strong recommendation for use of the vaccine in children over 12 years by the most responsible scientific organizations such as CDC, ECDC, AAP , the EAP and a significant number of European and other countries that are constantly updated, gives even more confidence in the safety and efficacy of these vaccines.
- The benefit of vaccinating this age group compared to any potential risks far outweighs the benefits. However, it should be noted that the benefit is multiplied for children of this age range who belong to groups at high risk for serious illness due to pre-existing diseases such as obesity, chronic respiratory diseases, neuromuscular diseases, etc. With the recommendation of vaccination vaccination of adults who remain unvaccinated and especially those who care for or come into close contact with children but are primarily concerned with the need to protect children themselves, including those who, due to age, cannot be vaccinated at this time.
For all the above reasons, the Cyprus Pediatric Society recommends the immediate start of universal vaccination of children over 12 years of age.
It is understood that the vaccines should be given with the informed consent and consent of the parents or guardians of each child.
The members of the Cyprus Pediatric Society are at the disposal of the State and the society to assist both in the effort of valid information and in carrying out the work of vaccinations in children. Because stopping the pandemic was and is our highest duty and priority.
From the Board of PEK