After the expert panel clarifies COVID vaccines for children, some doubts still remain

The Health Ministry’s panel of experts voted overwhelmingly Wednesday in favor of administering Pfizer and BioNTech’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5 to 11, and the inoculation campaign for that age group is set to take off. for the next week or two. but some doubts remain in the air:

The ministry’s pandemic task force voted almost unanimously in favor of recommending vaccinating children ages 5 to 11, but panel members were divided on whether to also vaccinate children who have already recovered from the disease.

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Experts from the Ministry of Health in the vaccine for children

Members of the expert panel of the Ministry of Health on the COVID-19 vaccine for children who give a presser, November 10, 2021

(Photo: Yair Sagi)

While 23 experts voted in favor, another 34 voted in favor but with reservations about the recovery date and another eight strongly opposed.

Furthermore, it is not clear how far apart the two doses of vaccine will be administered. Pfizer recommends giving both doses of its vaccine three weeks apart, but the Health Ministry said it will discuss the issue further as data is still insufficient at this time.

Some have criticized the board for lack of transparency, with critics saying the vote was held behind closed doors to prevent the public from hearing expert opinions that may discourage vaccination.

The director of the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center’s Infectious Diseases Unit, Dr. Michal Stein, told the Ynet study that none of the discussion attendees opposed vaccinating children directly and the deliberations touched on whether to launch the vaccine from immediately or wait for data from the United States. , which launched COVID-19 vaccines for children late last week.

“A professional discussion should be closed so that people can express their opinions freely. The discussion was very concrete. People have expressed their opinion on issues such as whether to recommend the vaccine or ‘allow it’, which is more nuanced,” Stein said.

“We discussed a vaccine for those who have recovered and opinions on the issue were quite divided, although in the United States the recommendation was to vaccinate recovering patients. In the meantime, we are waiting and will discuss the new one. [on Friday]. “

Dr. Stein added that the expert panel had considered the possibility that some children would experience adverse reactions from the vaccine, but such cases have not yet been reported. “

“Nothing serious has been reported. Obviously there will be side effects, this is a vaccine, not a paddle. The question is whether the benefit significantly outweighs the risk,” he said. “A wise doctor once taught me that what has no side effects, has no effect.”

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A girl receives the coronavirus vaccine during clinical trials to test safety and efficacy in children A girl receives the coronavirus vaccine during clinical trials to test safety and efficacy in children

A girl receives the coronavirus vaccine during clinical trials to test its safety and efficacy in children

(Photo: Reuters)

Following the panel’s decision, it is now up to the Director General of the Ministry of Health to sign an order to implement the COVID-19 vaccine for children.

Children are expected to receive only a third of the amount adults received with each vaccine dose three weeks apart.

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