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A vaccine for children - or someone else's?

A vaccine for children – or someone else’s?

In health care, there is an important ethical principle that all health care should be for your own good, and not for the benefit of someone else. This applies not least when it comes to reluctant children, so that they do not become a tool for adults.

Throughout the pandemic, the Swedish Public Health Agency’s mantra has been that children rarely get seriously ill from the virus that causes covid-19, which has also been proven to be true. Covid-19 is a highly differentiated disease with age being the greatest risk factor. The older you get, the more severe the disease.

But on Thursday, Sweden’s Public Health Agency turned 360 degrees. Now children between the ages of 12 and 15 should also be vaccinated. For them, the agency’s general director, Johann Karlsson, confirmed.

refers to others

However, the Public Health Authority was not the first. On September 7, the Swedish School Doctors Union announced the same.

We rely on the Pediatric Society’s literature review and based on that we made our own evaluation,” the association’s president, Joseph Millerade, told Dagens Medicin.

As early as September 3, the Pediatricians’ Association opened to vaccinate children ages 12 to 15. But the Pediatric Society has not performed any major literature review, as the literature on this topic is essentially unavailable. There are no scientific references in the letter submitted by the association.

Instead, the Pediatricians’ Association cites, among other things, the evaluation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which among other things shows that vaccines are safe.

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The CDC assesses that the benefits outweigh the risks, says Per Brolin, M.D., a board member of the Pediatric Association.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites no studies showing that children at the cohort level have a significant medical benefit from vaccinations that justify vaccinating entire age groups. Instead, the authority states that children can get sick and can pass the infection on to others.

Less reward infection

A common argument when discussing COVID-19 vaccinations among children is the cases of hyperinflammation found in children after COVID-19. The condition is serious, but it is more common in children younger than ten years old. That is, among children not covered by the new recommendation.

Per Brolin of the Pediatric Society also stresses that the recommendation to vaccinate secondary school students is in the best interests of children. Not only for the direct medical benefits that such a vaccination would have, but also for the indirect benefits that children might reap, for example through school education less affected.

TT: Have you seen any side effects among children?

There appears to be a certain increased risk of developing myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) among children. The cases have been mild, Per Brolin says, but we can probably expect a few dozen such cases.

He sees additional childhood vaccinations expected to lead to an overall decrease in the spread of infection, as a “bonus”.