Approval under the current Emergency Use Authorization for children ages 12 years and older to receive a COVID-19 vaccine was heralded as an important step forward in taming the pandemic. Some experts are now questioning the wisdom of doing so, however. An editorial in the British Medical Journal goes as far as to state that vaccinating children is “hard to justify right now for most children in most countries,” based mainly on the belief that “COVID-19 severity in children under the age of 12 is similar to that of influenza.” An important caveat to this was voiced by MedPage Today Editor-in-Chief Martin Makary, MD, MPH. While acknowledging that healthy children tend to weather COVID-19 infection well, he noted COVID-19–related deaths have occurred in children with pre-existing conditions that put them at greater risk. He also pointed out that getting children vaccinated against the virus provides protection against multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), which carries the potential for short- and long-term sequelae. With vaccination being such a hot-button issue for many, it’s important for the urgent care provider to be aware of the relative merits of both sides of the issue in order to engage parents in informed discussion.
Now That Kids 12 and Up Can Get the COVID-19 Vaccine, the Question Arises: Should They?