WEDNESDAY, Nov. 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Children should be included in clinical trials for a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine at the earliest stages, according to a letter from the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), on behalf of more than 67,000 pediatricians and pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists.
In a Sept. 29 letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Sara H. Goza, M.D., president of the AAP, stressed the importance of including children in vaccine trials for SARS-CoV-2. On Tuesday, the AAP joined six other medical groups in a letter to health officials requesting “transparency, scientific rigor, and robust communications to improve public confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine.”
Goza notes that although the likelihood of spreading the disease may vary among different-aged children, children can and do spread the virus. As of Nov. 12, more than 1 million COVID-19 cases have been reported in children in the United States, representing 11.5 percent of all cases; 133 children have died from the virus. To understand any potential unique immune responses and/or safety concerns, children must be included in vaccine trials, Goza writes. If children are not included in trials, they may not have the opportunity to benefit from a vaccine, or they may experience a delay to that benefit.
“More than 1 million children have been infected with this virus since the beginning of the pandemic, and children have suffered in numerous other ways. This includes disruptions to their education, harms to their mental and emotional health, and greatly diminished access to critical medical services,” Goza said in a statement. “It is unjust to allow them to take on these burdens, but not give them the opportunity to benefit from a vaccine.”
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