Expert: No more hospitalizations for any childhood illness

No childhood illness leads to as many hospital and intensive care stays as Corona, says Karl Zwiauer – member of the National Vaccination Committee – in the run-up to the EMA decision expected today on the approval of vaccinations for five to eleven year olds. According to data from the Austrian Society for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (ÖGKJ), one to three children and adolescents per week ended up in intensive care units in the third wave of pandemics in April 2021.

As a comparison, the pediatrician named measles, from which one in 1,000 infected children becomes seriously ill. “With the vaccination we got that under control,” he stated, saying that the same result is to be achieved with the Covid vaccination of five to eleven year old children. Because Corona represents an “incalculable risk” for children. According to the ÖGKJ, around one in 1,000 infected children in Austria suffers from a pediatric hyperinflammatory syndrome with multi-organ involvement. This clinical picture leads to high disease burdens, said Zwiauer. In addition, it is impossible to assess whether a child will develop Long Covid, regardless of whether the disease itself is mild or severe. “Even if only three percent of children develop Long Covid – and that is a very low figure – there are tens of thousands of those affected,” warned the expert.

Hardly any side effects

There were also concerns about possible new side effects before young people were vaccinated, except for a low risk of heart muscle inflammation, none had occurred. In the case of the younger generation, too, Zwiauer does not expect a new, unknown problem after the stitch. From the USA, where the vaccination is already approved for five to eleven year olds, there would be no warning notices. He opposes the risk of Covid infection with a wide range of possible clinical pictures – “from nothing to a serious illness with consequences that last for months” with a vaccination, “which we know to date is very well tolerated.” So far, absolutely nothing speaks against a vaccination, he told skeptical parents.

In Austria children are already vaccinated against Covid “off-label”, in Vienna for example also in Impfstraße in the Austria Center Vienna. A decision by the EU Medicines Agency EMA on the approval of the Covid vaccine from BioNTech / Pfizer is expected on Thursday. If the approval is fixed, Zwiauer also assumes a corresponding recommendation from the National Vaccination Committee (NIG).

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