Vaccination of children over five years of age against COVID-19 began in Peru in January, with the aim of having a safe return to the classroom. The vaccine used for this purpose is that of the laboratory Pfizerwhich is also the most used in adults.
But why is it that only this vaccine is applied? The main reason is that of the General Directorate of Medicines, Supplies and Drugs (Digemid), entity in charge of approving medicines in the country.
The immunization campaign in Peru began weeks after the US, some European countries and others in the region began inoculation in this age group, after the pharmaceutical company presented to the US Food and Drug Administration .UU (FDA) the results of its clinical trial that showed that it also has the endorsement of the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the health authorities of Canada, Spain, among others.
But it is not the only vaccine used in children. In China, for example, children and adolescents between the ages of three and 17 are immunized with the Sinopharm and Sinovac (CoronaVac) vaccines. In the region, Chile and Brazil use CoronaVac, which produces neutralizing antibodies in 96% of cases, according to phase I-II clinical trials published in The Lancet.
The same journal has published the data from the phase I-II trials of Sinopharm in children aged three to 17 years: “BBIBP-CorV also elicited strong humoral (antibody) responses against SARS-CoV-2 infection after 2 doses”, say the authors. The results of phase III have not yet been published in a scientific journal, but the Chinese firm assures that it has The vaccine is used in Argentina in this age group.
In the case of Moderna, which assured that its vaccine has a “strong” efficacy in children between the ages of six and 11, it is expected that it will begin to be widely used in the European Union and the United States in the coming weeks.
“There are two regulatory authorities in the region, from Chile and Brazil, that have already reviewed the Sinovac data and authorized the use of this vaccine in children. It is important that whenever a country is going to use a vaccine, the regulatory authority reviews all the safety and efficacy data that the producer in order to be analyzed.says in response to El Comercio, Jarbas Barbosa, deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization.
The official clarifies that “So far we do not have any vaccine for children authorized by the World Health Organization, onlyand we are waiting for in the coming weeks the [demás] Producers share with the WHO all the data from the studies they carried out to verify safety and efficacy, as well as manufacturing quality, so that there is a greater supply of vaccines for children in the Americas.”
With this, PAHO hopes that RNA vaccines and inactivated virus vaccines, such as those from Sinopharm and Sinovac, can be used in more countries and age groups.
“One more protection tool before the start of classes”
The vaccination of children and adolescents in Peru seeks that the vast majority of children start classes at the end of March with both doses. As is known, although COVID-19 does not usually cause a serious illness in most minors, it has been registered in the third wave due to the Omicron variant, according to the National Institute of Health.
“There is very good receptivity and enthusiasm on the part of the children and the parents. We know that and progress will depend on the doses that reach the country, because they are special doses [un tercio de la de los adultos]. We hope that this vaccination can be fulfilled in order to have one more protection tool before the start of classes”, Dr. Theresa Ochoa, pediatric infectious disease specialist and director of the Alexander Von Humboldt Institute of Tropical Medicine at the Cayetano Heredia University, tells us.
For months, anti-vaccine groups have carried out campaigns against the application of the COVID-19 vaccine in children. Asked if this situation will affect the confidence of parents in the other vaccines of the National Immunization Calendar, which protect against diseases such as polio, measles, chickenpox, among others, the infectologist José López Revilla, from the San Borja Children’s Hospital, considers that
“My perception is that no, for various reasons. One of them is that parents, especially of young children, have also received the vaccinations on the schedule. When asked if they are willing to vaccinate their children, they say yes. The issue with covid is that it is an unknown disease for many, there are several biases about the origin [de la enfermedad] and vaccine technology, but ensures.
In the country, according to population estimates from the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI), there are a total of 9.6 million children and adolescents under 17 years of age and 3.3 million children between the ages of six and 11.