In Brazil, adolescents over 12 years old can already be immunized against covid-19. However, there is still no forecast by the Ministry of Health for when children, between 5 and 11 years old, will be immunized in the country. According to medical experts, pediatric immunization should only start next year.
Currently, the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is only allowed in people 12 years of age or older. This is the only formula authorized by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) for those under 18 and, for now, there are no plans to expand national immunization among children.
Child vaccination in other countries
Countries in the Americas already immunize children under the age of 11 against covid-19. More recently, Argentina approved the use of the Sinopharm formula for those aged between 3 and 11 years. In addition to the Argentines, Chile vaccinates adults over 6 years old with CoronaVac. In Cuba, children aged 2 years can be immunized with the Sovereign 2 vaccine, developed in the country itself.
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In Israel, the Pfizer/BioNTech formula is already used in children over 5 years old, with a focus on individuals with comorbidities. Meanwhile, in China, the country authorizes the application of CoronaVac and Sinopharm’s formula in children over 3 years old. India started to recommend Covaxin vaccine for children from 2 years old, since Tuesday (12).
In the Brazilian case, it is possible that two vaccines may soon be applied to the pediatric public, at least as far as it depends on the manufacturers. These are the cases of CoronaVac and the formula of Pfizer/BioNTech, but there is still no endorsement from Anvisa for the realization of these plans.
Pfizer e CoronaVac
US Pfizer Order
Last Thursday (7), Pfizer requested authorization for the emergency use of the vaccine against covid-19 in children aged 5 to 11 years in the US. If the license is granted, it is likely that such requests will become common in other countries, including Brazil.
“Since July, pediatric covid-19 cases have increased by about 240% in the United States, underscoring the public health need for vaccination,” Pfizer Executive President Albert Bourla said in a statement. The position highlights the importance of pediatric vaccination.
In an undisclosed study, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that the immunizing agent triggers a good immune response in children aged 5 to 11 years. According to the developers, the evidence found allows them to affirm that the immunizing agent is safe and effective for this age group.
Anvisa’s initial negative for CoronaVac
In August, Anvisa rejected the request for the use of CoronaVac in children and adolescents, from 3 to 17 years old, requested by the Butantan Institute. According to the regulatory agency, there was a lack of data to prove the safety and efficacy of the formula in this age group. During the vote on the analysis, one of the reporters explained that there was an “insufficient number” of volunteers who participated in the study.
However, the negative response to the request does not prevent new data from being analyzed or the understanding of the safety and efficacy of CoronaVac from being reviewed by Anvisa. For this, Butantan must present more information and other studies on its use in the pediatric public, which must still happen.
Expectation for vaccination of children against covid
“Hardly this age group [entre 5 e 11 anos] will be able to be vaccinated against the virus in 2021. We are still using the Pfizer vaccine in adolescents, in a booster dose, in the elderly, in immunosuppressed patients and in healthcare professionals. In addition to those who have already taken the first dose and need to take the second — which many places are anticipating”, explained Emerson Luiz, an infectious disease physician at the Hospital das Forças Armadas (HFA), to the Correio Braziliense newspaper.
In this sense, the available doses of immunizing agents against covid-19 should primarily serve other audiences at the time. However, the situation may change with the expansion of authorization for the use of Pfizer’s formula by Anvisa or with the pediatric use license of another immunizing agent. The scenario could also be affected with the arrival of more batches of vaccines.
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