Why Kids Under 5 Who Had COVID-19 Still Need Vaccines

ssix months ago, in the rush of Christmas activities, I quickly wiped my girls’ (and mine)’s noses on COVID-19. Their age is three and a half years. Although no one showed any symptoms, we went with them to see their great-grandfather to make sure they were all safe. An epidemiologist, it was clear that we were experiencing a COVID-19 tsunami. Children are great silent carriers of COVID-19 and seniors are most at risk for serious breakthrough infections. Fifteen minutes later and to my surprise, my girls’ tests showed they were positive. My husband and I had been boosted a month before our test and were never positive. Our plans were changed, that was clear. We spent Christmas at home instead of spending time with our families.

Millions of Americans have experienced some version of the same. While we experienced only mild symptoms, many others suffered from serious side effects. This wave saw an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations for children under the age of 5. Eighty-six percent of these hospital admissions were in hospitals. See the following: COVID-19 (against) Of COVID-19). The number of children hospitalized for flu has increased significantly and is much higher than the COVID-19 peak. 1 in 4 toddlers admitted for COVID-19 were admitted to an ICU. This contributed significantly to the COVID-19 death rate for toddlers. More than 400 children under the age of 4 have died from the virus. COVID-19 has the highest death rate for toddlers under the age of 4 than any vaccine-preventable disease. COVID-19 is also among the top 10 causes of death for children in general.

Read more: A new test could help reveal whether you are immune to COVID-19

Of course, this age group has not been eligible for vaccination against COVID-19 until now. After rigorous clinical trials and setbacks (Pfizer-BioNTech tried to adjust the dosage and number of injections), the FDA granted emergency clearance. The CDC recommended COVID-19 vaccinations for children as young as six months old. 75% have contracted the virus in children under the age of 18. Even my girls. But I will get the vaccine for my girls as soon as possible.

There are many reasons why I vaccinate my children if they have already had COVID-19.

It is very common to be re-infected by other viruses and should not be taken lightly with SARS-2. Reinfections with COVID19 are becoming more common. Recent scientific evidence has shown that children under the age of 18 are at risk of re-infection with COVID19. failed to make antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 after confirmed infection (the immune system’s first line of defense) and had moderate T cell responses (the immune system’s second line of defense). This is not surprising. It depends on the severity and quality of the infection that an immune response will produce. Children who have had milder infections, which are quite common, are likely to be better protected. This means we are not confident in what will happen if they come into contact with the virus again, and I want my girls to be optimally protected.

Omicron also changes very quickly. SARS CoV-2 also mutates four times faster than the flu. Scientific evidence has shown that neutralizing antibodies against Omicron infection (from variants BA.1 and BA.2) do not protect against Omicron variants (called BA.4/5) in winter. Neutralizing antibodies also decrease rapidly. Chances are, six months after an infection, my girls’ first line of defense is largely gone (if they’ve gotten enough antibodies at all). While it’s clear that we need second-generation vaccines for long-term protection against infection, such as the nasal vaccines, a vaccine right now, in the middle of a wave, will help temporarily prevent infection (and reduce the likelihood of long-term COVID).

Read more: Misinformation about COVID-19 on the rise: Routine childhood vaccination rates are low

Unfortunately, our ability to predict the future is not very good. There is some evidence that Omicron infects unvaccinated individuals but does not generate neutralizing antibodies for other problems. Omicron may be the predominant variant at the moment, but that could change. However, infection-induced immunity is not a good option if there are other variants that turn out to be more severe. Unfortunately, we do not know when the next variant of care will come. This could happen tomorrow. It could happen in 10 years. But if it happens tomorrow, I will protect my daughters.

Being vaccinated and recovering from a previous infection is called “hybrid immunity,” and more than 20 studies in adults have shown that hybrid immunity significantly increases in broad protection against infection and serious disease for an extended period of time. Infection-inducible immunity targets all viruses while vaccine immunity protects against spike proteins. This does not mean that we should deliberately expose our children to COVID-19, but we should recognize the strong protection this combination provides.

Read more: Here’s what you need to know about COVID-19 booster shots for kids

Finally it is completely safe. Both Moderna’s clinical trial and Pfizer’s clinical trial showed minimal side effects. The vaccine caused a lot of fatigue and irritability in toddlers. A quarter of Moderna recipients also had a fever. This is normal for vaccines for young children. However, these were minor symptoms that showed the vaccine was working. Both clinical studies reported no cases of myocarditis. It was quite remarkable, but not surprising. Unfortunately, the trials were not large enough to detect such an unusual event. Myocarditis following mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in infants is expected to be very rare based on safety monitoring in children aged 5-11 years. This may be due to the smaller doses of RNA in these children and myocarditis which is fundamentally different. The data will be closely monitored. However, myocarditis can still be contracted in children from an infection. This is worse than the myocarditis that occurs after vaccination. Due to our knowledge of the ingredients, no serious long-term side effects are expected from vaccines. Since the 1990s, scientists have been studying mRNA vaccines. Extensive real-world data, including older adults and pregnant women, have shown that the COVID-19 vaccine appears to be safe and effective.

It’s been more than seven months since the CDC recommended COVID-19 vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds. Our youngest children have been waiting patiently ever since. The benefits of these new recommended vaccines are clear to me. My goal this week is to protect my daughters from the vaccine-preventable disease. Come with me to get the protection of your children.

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