Long COVID is a complication that has been affecting previously infected patients from all ages—including teens and young children. In order to reduce the number of cases in this age group, a new study suggests that they receive both doses of the vaccine.
Currently, all those between the ages of 12 to 17 are only permitted to get one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
Benefits outweigh the risks
The research, which was published in Journal of Royal Society of Medicine, analysed both the risks and benefits of inoculating children with two jabs. After examining existing data on hospital admissions, intensive care support, and death of infected children, they reached the conclusion that the benefits did outweigh the risks. Their findings also took into account the risk of myocarditis—heart inflammation—that has been linked to the COVID vaccine.
According to the Evening Standard, at the moment around 680 children out of 100,000 are catching the virus on a weekly basis. Authors say that if the number rises to over 1,000 double-jabs could help in reducing the number. The study states:
The benefit of vaccination in terms of hospitalisations in adolescents outweighs risks unless case rates are sustainably very low (below 30/100,000 teenagers/week).
Given the current high case rates in England, our findings support vaccination of adolescents against SARS-CoV2.
Double jabs for children
Last week, educational authorities had warned the government that more and more students were staying absent from school because of a COVID-related reason. Figures from the Department for Education revealed that 122,000 children had missed out on school because they were either infected themselves, were isolating after contact with an infected person, or because their school had been shut down due to an outbreak.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has also shown that an estimated 12.3% of pupils experience symptoms even four weeks after their infection.
The study also concluded that double-jabs is not only crucial to bring down the infection rates amongst children, but could also help them avoid long COVID. Lead author, Dr. Deepti Gurdasani said:
This analysis shows that, on clinical risks alone, vaccination is warranted for 12 to 17-year-olds in England.
While we wait to understand the long-term effects of COVID-19 on children, the precautionary principle advocates for protecting all children from exposure to this virus and vaccination is a crucial part of that protection.