CDC approves vaccines for children under five: A step forward, but with many limitations

Over the weekend, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted unanimously to approve COVID vaccines for youth. Based on these approvals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that children aged six months to five years be vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna.

Ariana Macias, 7, gets pressure after receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, for children ages 5 to 12, at the Dallas County Health and Human Services Vaccine Site in Mesquite, Texas on Thursday, November 4, 2021. [AP Photo/LM Otero] [AP Photo/LM Otero]

There are 19.3 million children in this age group for whom COVID vaccines have remained unavailable since the vaccinations were introduced in December 2020.

While the number of young children dying from COVID remains low so far (about 442 children under the age of five according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), that number is much higher than the number of flu deaths in the same age group. As Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Stanford University noted, “Children shouldn’t die from anything.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children accounted for nearly 19 percent of all cumulative COVID cases in the United States. However, seroprevalence data based on blood samples, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicate that about 75 percent of all children 18 years of age or younger have been infected, much higher than 60 percent. for all residents.

This means that children represent the most affected group, a point that must be contrasted with the relentless claims by capitalist politicians and the media that children are somehow immune to the ravages of the virus.

Since the pandemic, the AAP has reported that more than 1.3 million children have been hospitalized with COVID, a number that is known to be greatly underestimated. Nearly a quarter of a million children were hospitalized during the three months of the first Omicron wave that began in early December 2021 and ended in February 2022. According to the CDC’s provisional death tally from COVID, 1,257 children died during the pandemic, 20% of them during the Omicron wave.

These numbers may seem small compared to the frightening number of deaths among the elderly and the immunocompromised, but they are much higher than the numbers of children hospitalized and dying from influenza in the same age group.

The 2017-2018 flu season saw 42,386 children hospitalized, the worst in a decade, compared to a quarter of a million hospitalizations in the first three months of this year due to the coronavirus.

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