The teenage vaccine is a “diluted” version of Sputnik V.

The teenage vaccine is a “diluted” version of Sputnik V.

Photo: Alexey BULATOV

The Gam-Covid-Vac M vaccine (also known as Sputnik M) will be used to prevent coronavirus infection in adolescents aged 12 to 17 years. The vaccine for adolescents is a “diluted” version of “Sputnik V”, the concentration of active substances in the preparation is reduced five times. The vaccine has been tested since the beginning of June and has confirmed its safety.

Alexander Gintsburg, director of the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology, said that among the side effects identified was only a slight increase in body temperature up to 37.4 degrees.

To vaccinate adolescents under 15 years old, the consent of a parent or legal representative will be required, and from 15 years old, a teenager will be able to make a decision on vaccination with this drug on his own.

The next step of the Gamaleya Center will be the development of a vaccine for children aged 6 to 11 years. As expected, the well-proven “Sputnik V” will again be taken as a basis and its concentration will be changed, decreasing by 10 times.

– In the version of the vaccine for adolescents, the amount of active ingredient is reduced by 5 times. This is a non-standard approach. Usually the dosage for adolescents is not reduced, – says immunologist, candidate of medical sciences, general director of the contract research company Nikolai Kryuchkov. – This move is likely related to the desire to reduce the likelihood of adverse effects after vaccination. And everyone, including temperature, malaise, muscle pain, should be provided with maximum safety. However, this can affect the protective properties of the vaccine. To understand how the vaccine will protect, it is necessary to conduct a third phase of clinical trials. I expect the Gamaleya Center to publish publications on the stages of drug research. They are needed to assess the comparative immunogenicity (the ability to induce an immune response) in adolescents with this form of vaccine and immunogenicity in adults using Sputnik V. Because if it turns out that in the variant for adolescents, the immunogenicity is much lower and a large percentage do not develop neutralizing antibodies, then questions about effectiveness may arise. And with security, I think everything is fine. At least we see that the vaccination of adolescents with Pfizer and Moderna, AstraZeneca with not underestimated doses of active ingredients is going well, and Pfizer and Moderna are used even for children from 5 to 11 years old.

– Nikolay, will vaccination of adolescents help stop the pandemic?

– We know that teenagers are sick with coronavirus, and in some cases they are seriously ill. Especially adolescents with risk factors. Therefore, vaccination will help reduce these risks. Plus, group risks will also decrease, because a vaccinated teenager is less likely to infect others, including the elderly in his environment. The infection will spread less among older children. In terms of the formation of herd immunity, adolescents are not a decisive group. I do not think that many of them will be vaccinated, but those who want to provide the vaccine are worth it. However, it is adults, including the elderly, who remain the key group for vaccination.

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