Experts recommend Covid vax for at-risk under-12 kids

Update: 2023-01-03 18:25 GMT
Medical staff administers a booster dose of COVID vaccine to a woman at Chinnawaltair in Visakhapatnam. (DC Image)

Hyderabad: As the Omicron BF7 virus surges, experts have called for approval to vaccinate children under the age of 12 who are more vulnerable to contracting severe Covid.

Only children over the age of 12 are currently eligible for the vaccination. While the infection is usually mild in children, paediatricians state that, similar to comorbidities in adults, many children suffer from certain conditions that make the Covid infection severe for them.

Chief paediatrician and neonatologist Dr R. Deepthi recommended vaccination for children with vulnerabilities such as congenital lung disease, heart diseases, cystic fibrosis, interstitial fibrosis, and others, while stating that if such children contract Covid, they will be affected severely.

Paediatricians, including Dr Deepthi, have seen a significant number of cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) in children aged 5 to 10. MIS-C is a rare but serious disorder that involves inflammation of organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain. The disease could occur as a result of post-Covid complications.

However, it has been debated whether vaccination will help prevent MIS-C, according to Dr Deepthi, who noted that administering vaccination to all children under the age of 12 was not recommended.

Dr. Sivaranjani Santosh, a paediatrician, has also suggested that vaccines be given to children under the age of 12 who are at high risk of complications. “For such children, Covid vaccines are recommended, and while it has not yet been included in the guidelines, ideally they should be provided the benefit of vaccination,” she said.

Complications that, like cormorbidities in adults, would increase the severity of Covid in children include immunodeficiency diseases, HIV, chronic illnesses, and so on. However, Dr. Sivaranjani Santosh, stated that vaccinations would not help prevent or reduce the severity of MIS-C in children.

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