The big debate! Covid vaccines for the 5-11 year old range. Why are we vaccinating this age group? The answer is we cannot achieve herd immunity without vaccinating this age group. Only 57.8% of Americans are fully vaccinated. We cannot achieve herd immunity with these percentage numbers. If you can wrap your head around the fact that we are vaccinating these young children to protect the adults, then mission accomplished! The Covid vaccines are great at preventing severe disease, but not great a stopping transmission. Most young children do not get severe Covid disease. So what are we preventing? Approximately 5 million children under the age of 18 have tested positive for Covid-19 as per the CDC. Less than 700 deaths have occurred in this age group. (0.00%-0.03% of the child Covid cases result in death) 146 deaths have occurred in the 5-11 year range.
Most of the deaths in the USA are occurring amongst the unvaccinated population. If you are not vaccinated you are 11X more likely to die of Covid-19. Vaccinated people are 5X less likely to get infected, and 10X less likely to be hospitalized. In the US there has been approximately 41,127 breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people between January 1 and October 30, 2021. There have been 30,270 hospitalizations, out of which 20,008 were > 64 years of age. There were 10,857 deaths, out of which 9172 were > 65 years. Women account for 63% of the breakthrough infections. We also know now that the Moderna vaccine is more protective than the Pfizer vaccine at 6 months out. It is still 95% protective against severe cases. However, it is the Pfizer vaccine being pushed for this age group. Which I guess this is okay since children for the most part do not get severe disease in the 5-11 year age group! So if I had my preference for any vaccine it would still be hands down the Moderna vaccine that I would want for my children and myself. (PS- My family all took the Moderna vaccine)
Now which children should be vaccinated? Any child or person who is immunocompromised or who has an underlying condition such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney and lung disease, obesity, and cancer have a higher chance of severe infection and death as well as breakthrough infection. This is also the group that should get a booster dose! We should also factor in children who have had natural infection. Do they need a vaccine? If I had to make a decision then I would check antibodies on my child first. If they have antibodies and are healthy with no underlying conditions, then I would maybe hesitate or wait for the Moderna vaccine to be approved for the 5-11year age group. However, in the 12-18 year range the CDC showed that 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 93% effective at preventing Covid-19 hospitalizations and death. So in this age group any mRNA vaccine is fine for now to try and halt the pandemic. The daily deaths as of October 29th for Covid-19 were 2025 with a 7 day average of 1366. These numbers are still incomprehensible.
This pandemic is not going to go away. We must learn how to live with Covid, just like we do with any other disease. The cases will continue to wax and wane. In July Covid-19 had decreased to the 7th leading cause of death. In September Covid increased back up to the 2nd leading cause of death. Only heart disease killed more people in September. Covid-19 was the leading cause of death for adults 35-54 years of age in August and September! We have a long way to go! Now Flu season has started and is here early and going to stay long I fear. I already have many children testing positive for Influenza A. Which means later on in the season we will recirculate with Influenza B from my experience! So the flu shot may not be a bad idea this season! So much to consider, and I hope this helps in some small way!