Pfizer vaccine well-tolerated by vulnerable 12 to 15-year-old children, study finds

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  • In a study, children with neurological conditions experienced only mild Covid-19 vaccine side effects.
  • The side effects resolved between three to seven days.
  • The study authors, therefore, recommend that children at high risk of Covid-19 should be vaccinated. 

The side effects of the Covid-19 Pfizer-BioNTech are mild and disappear quickly in children with comorbidities aged between 12 and 15 years.

The study published in Archives of Disease in Childhood assessed the side effects of the Pfizer vaccine in children with a high risk of severe Covid-19 because of preexisting conditions.

Neurological conditions

The study enrolled 27 children between the ages of 12 and 15 years. The children chosen for the study had neurological conditions, which are the predominant comorbidities of hospitalised children with Covid-19 in the United Kingdom.

The children had conditions such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy, plus other coexisting medical conditions like epilepsy, congenital heart defects, and immune deficiency. They were receiving drug treatments for their various disorders.

The children were given the Pfizer vaccine, and researchers asked their parents to observe them and report back on any side effects the kids experienced.

How the vaccine affected high-risk children 

The conclusion was that the side effects in these high-risk children were primarily mild and cleared up quickly.

One child experienced severe fatigue and discomfort, combined with increased agitation that lasted for a week. Another family reported that their child's seizure type changed to clusters, which resolved on day seven after vaccination.

Six children experienced mild rash, headache, diarrhoea, sore throat, neck pain, difficulty sleeping and low blood sugars after the first dose. These side effects resolved in less than three days.

After the second dose, five children had diarrhoea, vomiting, armpit swelling and blisters around the mouth, which were not thought to be related to the vaccine.

The authors recommend that vulnerable children should be offered the Covid-19 vaccine.

“The parents choosing to take up this vaccination at a time when it was off-licence, with little available safety data, did so because they (and their clinicians) believed their children to be at high risk of Covid-19 disease.

"Indeed, many had been shielding and felt that vaccination would make a significant difference to their lives,” the authors wrote.

*For more Covid-19 research, science and news, click here. You can also sign up for our Daily Dose newsletter here.

READ | Covid-19: Potential variant of interest identified in South Africa

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