How To Prioritize Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination

As COVID-19 vaccine regulation advances to younger and younger populations – with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna each applying for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) based on data observing mRNA vaccines in patients as young as 5 years old – the discussion of clinical benefit is changing to patient prioritization.

Just as high-risk adult populations were prioritized for the first approved vaccines, will a similar plan be introduced for children?

In an interview with Contagion during IDWeek 2021, Monica McArthur, MD, PhD, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine discussed the progression of pediatric COVID-19 vaccination — an issue that has shifted from a non-issue to an urgent one in 2 years. priority.

“I think one of the most important things to note is that we initially thought that COVID-19 was really not a big problem in the pediatric population,” McArthur said. It was only due to a combination of factors, including higher adult vaccination rates, that pediatric cases began to rise.

McArthrur discussed the strategy for vaccine deployment and delivery as and when vaccines become available for younger pediatric populations; the factors that have influenced global health agencies to recommend older and at-risk adults receive the first available doses may not apply to children.

“Part of the concern with the rollout for high-risk populations has been the scarcity of vaccines, and I think we don’t have much to do with that anymore,” McArthur said. “My hope is that once the vaccine becomes available under the EUA for children aged 5-11, it will be available to all children.”

That said, children believed to be at high risk for the severity of COVID-19 should still be the target of safe, appropriate vaccination by immediate health care providers, McArthur said.

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