Editorial | Extend immunity

After being approved by the European Medicines Agency, the Public Health Commission of Spain has given the go-ahead to vaccination against covid in the age group of minors between 5 and 11 years old. The vaccine Pfizer/BioNtech, the only current one adapted to the child population (with the inoculation of a third of the dose received by adults), is already being supplied in the United States and Israel and its use is also planned in other European countries, such as France. It is estimated that they are about 3.3 million children those who in Spain will be able to benefit from serum at a time when it is evident, according to statistical data, that this age group is the one with the most cases of infections. Much higher, with a cumulative incidence over 14 days, which in Catalonia is around 600 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, than the average for the population, which is estimated at 340.

Most expert scientists consider that the measure is necessary, even if it is not urgent, since 75% of infections in schools have occurred in children under 12 years of age, that is, not yet vaccinated. Although it is true that the serious affectation is very rare, it is superior to the hypothetical side effects. And the administration of the serum must serve, first of all, to protect children and also to decrease transmission in the educational and family environment. Consequently, to advance group immunity and lower the level of virus circulation.

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The vaccine to minors (such as inoculation of a booster dose) can generate doubts, especially of a logistical and humanitarian nature. Is it better to extend immunization in advanced societies or to focus efforts on global and mass vaccination? But there is no doubt that the vaccine has the maximum guarantees and an effectiveness around 90%. Confidence in the opinions of those responsible for health organizations must prevail over hoaxes spread by denialist sectors. The anti-vaccine movements are already hiding behind this campaign that will begin on December 15, and in the mandatory nature of the covid passport, to rearm their protest based on pilgrim arguments. The mantra that with the generalization of its inoculation is “experimenting” with children, brandished to feed fears, comes face to face with evidence: the decision to extend vaccination to these ages comes after having made them wait almost an additional year, after a long period of tests that certify its safety and effectiveness.

It should be remembered that, without being mandatory, the vaccines included in the Spanish vaccination schedule (from hepatitis to meningitis, including tetanus, diphtheria, measles or chickenpox) have reached percentages Very high acceptance because the vast majority of families understand that they are essential for the healthy development of their children. However, it is undeniable that, globally, refractory positions have been consolidating that have caused outbreaks that were unthinkable for a long time, such as the measles epidemic two years ago in the United States. Therefore, it is necessary to remember that, as we are verifying, vaccines save lives and avoid dramatic situations. Also among our minors. They are safe, effective and necessary. This is the criterion to take into account, now more than ever.


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