experts explain everything you need to know

Photo: Cariacica Town Hall / Claudio Postay

The cases of Covid-19 practically tripled in the months of January and February across the country, after the arrival of the micron. This, compared to the critical moment of the pandemic experienced in 2021 caused by the circulation of another variant, Delta.

However, according to the president of the Immunization Department of the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics, Renato Kfouri, the number of deaths has not followed in the same proportion the number of cases that have appeared. For Kfouri, these data reflect the success of vaccination in the country.

On the other hand, with the start of the vaccination of children between 5 and 11 years old in January this year, a new concern has emerged: the low adherence to vaccination of this target audience.

The Holy Spirit again is far from reaching the 90% target of children eligible for vaccination.

Among the main reasons associated with the fear of having children vaccinated, parents report the fear of adverse effects and also the supposed long-term effects. Currently, there are two vaccines approved by the National Health Surveillance Agency available for children in Brazil: Coronavac and Pfizer.

According to data made available on the state government’s Vacina e Confia platform, as of Monday morning (7), 145,461 children between the ages of 5 and 11 have been vaccinated in Espírito Santo. The number represents 37% of the target audience, or about 393,089 people.

More than 35,000 children in this age group have been infected in the state since the start of the pandemic. The data comes from the state Department of Health.

In a live broadcast promoted by the state government on Wednesday evening (10), two specialists from São Paulo, Eder Gattidoctor of Butantan Instituteand Renato Kfouri president of the Department of Vaccination of the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics answered several questions about the safety and the need to vaccinate children against covid-19. The live also featured the participation of the Secretary of State for Health, Nésio Fernandes.

Photo: Myke Sena / Ministry of Health

Why vaccinate children and adolescents?

According to Kfouri, vaccines are an important part tool in protection against the most severe form of diseases. They reduce the risk of severe evolution.

Furthermore, children and teenagers under 18 represent a large part of the population: 1/4 of Brazilians belong to this age group, i.e. 25%.

“We had more than 2,400 deaths in Brazil. This is more than any other disease. Inflammatory syndrome and long-term Covid must be taken into account and we have children with chronic diseases who must also be vaccinated We need to vaccinate children for them and for the community.”

Butantan Institute doctor Éder Gatti says covid vaccines are extremely safe. Regarding the fact that they were developed in a short period of time, the doctor says that the whole process involved a very large mobilization around vaccination.

“In fact, everything happened very quickly, but everything happened within the limits. The vaccines that exist have been tested, they are not experimental, they have been properly tested, licensed by serious regulatory bodies. »

Regarding the risks of adverse reactions, Gatti points out that they are extremely rare and that there have been some reports of pain and redness at the site of application of the vaccine and low fever.

“Serious adverse events have occurred, most of them coincidental and the risk is extremely low. The benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks,” he stressed.

What you need to know about the childhood vaccine:

What is the role of vaccines?
A: Stimulates the production of neutralizing antibodies. It is these antibodies that stick to the virus and prevent it from attaching to our airways and causing illness.

Is vaccination effective in preventing covid-19?
A: Sometimes vaccination is not effective in preventing the disease, but it avoids more serious consequences.

Is the vaccine given to children different from that given to adults?
A: Yes. According to the National Health Surveillance Agency, Anvisa, the Pfizer vaccine, for example, has a different composition and dosage than that applied to adults.

My son has already had covid. Do you still need to get vaccinated?
A: Immunity caused by disease is lost over time. Even if the child fell ill and recovered, the vaccine can boost his immunity.

How many doses should children take?
A: 2 servings. There is still no definition of the need for a booster dose in children and adolescents.

Can vaccines cause side effects?
A: Yes. The vaccine is a medicine and therefore brings about changes in the body. However, adverse events are rare. Redness and pain at the site of application and feverishness are among them.

Are vaccines safe?
A: Studies show that Coronavac and Pfizer vaccines are effective and safe. They guarantee more than 90% protection against death and hospitalization.

Covid-19 X children and adolescents

Are children more asymptomatic than adults?
A: Yes. The younger the age and comorbidities, the more asymptomatic the individual. However, some children develop serious complications.

What are the characteristics of the disease in children and adolescents?
A: If they infect less, they transmit less, develop more severe forms of the disease less frequently and hospitalize less.

Covid in children keeps symptoms lingering?
A: A study carried out at the Hospital das Clínicas de São Paulo shows that 43% of children infected with the virus have persistent effects of covid for at least 3 months. This means that 4 out of 10 children who fall ill have a loss of smell, tiredness, fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating and sleep disturbances are the most common.

What are the pediatric risk groups?
A: Diabetics, heart disease, transplant patients, cancer, Down syndrome and chronic lung disease, pregnant teenagers and others.

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