Vaccinating children and adolescents against coronavirus 2

Glikman, D., Stein, M., & Shinwell, ES., from ACTA Paediatrica

The findings in a nutshell

COVID-19 affects people of all ages. Children have lower death rates than adults, but significant numbers still experience severe and ongoing symptoms, including two new long-term inflammatory conditions, making vaccinating children essential. A vaccine trial of children (aged 12-16) concluded that the risk of COVID-19 infections outweighed the risk of vaccinations for children with co-morbidities. Following this outcome, Israel and the US rolled out vaccines for children with co-morbidities.

The article reviewed the Israeli experience of COVID-19 vaccinations for children and adolescents. With one third of Israel’s population younger than 18, it was vital to assess the effectiveness of vaccines for children and adolescents while ensuring the risks associated with COVID-19 outweighed the risks of vaccines.

Israeli adolescents aged 16-18 years received the COVID-19 vaccine, resulting in no major safety concerns. It was also considered safe for children aged 12-15 years with co-morbidities to receive the vaccine as the risks of contracting COVID-19 were higher than being vaccinated. Israel and the US have since rolled out vaccines for children with co-morbidities.

Implications for Australian workplaces

With Australia’s Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommending vaccines for those 12 years and older, it is important to inform our clients, colleagues and communities that the risks of COVID-19 outweigh the risks of vaccines for this population. It is important to impart this information to employees and to consider how you may encourage them to have their children vaccinated when they are eligible and supplies are available.  Having children of employees vaccinated reduces the risk of employees taking time off for care-giving and is another way to reduce the risk of transmission within the workplace.

To find out more about Vaccinating children and adolescents against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – the Israeli experience read the full article here.

Date published: June 2021

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