Why are most vaccines are safe for adults and not children
By Lilian Kaivilu
Whether children and those below 18 years should take covid-19 vaccine is still a question that many grapple with. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children aged between five and 17 years may be eligible for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine but cannot take Moderna and J&J / Janssen covid-19 jabs. Children aged four years and below are not eligible for any of the vaccines.
In Africa, some countries such as Seychelles, South Africa and Morocco have started covid-19 vaccination for adolescents following the approval of the vaccines for emergency use in these age groups.
In the United States of America, those aged 18 and above can get a booster dose of either of the vaccines) Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines) at least eight weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) vaccine.
In this article, we explore the reasons why most vaccines may be unfit for children and why the World Health Organization often advises against administration of these jabs on the minors.
1. Disease burden on adults
While children aged below 18 years of age have been reported to have contracted covid-19, the greater burden of the corona virus disease and related deaths remains highest among adults. According to the World Health Organization, this is one of the reasons for recommending vaccine priority for adults and the elderly.
2. Immune system
Unlike adults, the immune system of children is weaker and may not stand the side effects of some of the covid-19 vaccine.
3. Severity of disease
Unlike adults and the elderly, the severity of covid-19 on children has been way lower. According to the World Health Organization, “children and adolescents usually demonstrate fewer and milder symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to adults and are less likely than adults to experience severe COVID-19(4).”
4. Not yet enough research
According to the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF), there are still huge gaps in the study of covid-19 vaccines and the possible effects on children. There are no adequate studies to show the comprehensive benefits ad risks of the covid-19 jab on minors.
In a statement issued by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on January 4,2022, CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky urged parents to take their children for booster vaccines should they be eligible. “Today’s recommendations ensure people are able to get a boost of protection in the face of Omicron and increasing cases across the country, and ensure that the most vulnerable children can get an additional dose to optimize protection against COVID-19,” said Dr Rochelle in a statement.