Infectious Disease Societies Support Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccinations

In addition to the prevention of disease in children, COVID-19 vaccination can also limit disruptions in school attendance so that children can participate safely in school and other activities.

A statement from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS) supports the decision by the FDA and CDC to authorize Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years of age.1

Following the FDA emergency use authorization on October 29, officials from the CDC have recommended pediatric COVID-19 vaccines for this age group. According to a press release from the CDC, this expands COVID-19 vaccine recommendations to include approximately 28 million children in the United States between 5 and 11 years of age.2

“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus that causes COVID-19,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, in the press release. “We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”2

Despite some public belief that COVID-19 is milder in children or that children are not susceptible to the virus, COVID-19 cases in children can result in hospitalization, death, multisystem inflammatory syndrome, and long-term complications that can linger for months. The spread of the Delta variant during the summer of 2021 also resulted in a 5-fold increase of COVID-19 hospitalizations among children and adolescents.2

Vaccination is an important step to protect children from COVID-19, according to the CDC press release. Clinical trials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children found nearly 91% efficacy in preventing COVID-19. Adverse effects (AEs) were mild, self-limiting, and similar to those seen in adults and with other vaccines recommended for children. The most commonly reported AE was a sore arm.2

In addition to the prevention of disease in children, COVID-19 vaccination can also limit disruptions in school attendance so that children can participate safely in school and other activities that are important for mental health and development, according to the statement from IDSA and PIDS. Additionally, when vaccinating children for COVID-19, pharmacists can check that they are up to date on all of the recommended vaccines, including the annual flu shot.1

“As a mom, I encourage patients with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse, or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated,” Walensky said in the press release.1

REFERENCES

1. IDSA and PIDS Support Authorization of Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine. Infectious Diseases Society of America; November 2, 2021. Accessed November 3, 2021. https://www.idsociety.org/news--publications-new/articles/2021/idsa-and-pids-support-authorization-of-pediatric-covid-19-vaccine/

2. CDC Recommends Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine for Children 5 to 11 Years. CDC; November 2, 2021. Accessed November 3, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1102-PediatricCOVID-19Vaccine.html