The Directorate General of Health announces the opening in France of the vaccination of children from 6 months to 4 years old at risk of a serious form of Covid-19 and those living in the entourage of an immunocompromised person. With which vaccine? Pfizer? How many doses?
The General Directorate of Health announcement the opening in France of the vaccination campaign for children from 6 months to 4 years oldat risk of serious forms of Covid-19 and to all those living in the entourage of an immunocompromised person, can we read in a press release dated January 19, 2023. This vaccination it’s not mandatory but it is part of the recommendations of the French health authorities to guarantee optimal protection for these children. For which babies and young children specifically? With which vaccine? Pfizer ? how many doses ? Who can vaccinate young children?
Which young children can be vaccinated against Covid?
► Children at risk of severe form of Covid. The opening of the vaccination concerns children aged 6 months to 4 years with at least one comorbidity identified by the High Authority for Health (HAS). The list of comorbidities are those that may carry a risk of developing a severe form of Covidas well as certain pathologies particularly at risk for this age group:
- The congenital heart disease
- The chronic liver diseases
- The chronic heart and respiratory diseases (including severe asthma requiring ongoing treatment)
- The neurological diseases
- Primary or drug-induced immunodeficiency
- Hematological malignancies
- sickle cell disease
- Trisomy 21.
► The doctors specializing in organs and rare diseases can also offer vaccination on a case-by-case basis to children deemed particularly vulnerable but whose risk factors do not appear in these lists (recent cancer, chronic kidney disease or neurological disability for example), on the basis of an assessment of the individual benefit/risk ratio.
► Children from 6 months to 4 years living in the entourage of an immunocompromised person (chemotherapy, HIV infection, organ transplant, etc.)
From when in France can they be vaccinated?
► Since January 16, 2023: children aged 6 months to 4 years most at risk can be vaccinated in the health establishments and services concerned (CHU, CH, pediatric hospitals, specialized establishments, medium and long stay reception centers, ESMS accompanying children in disability…). A vaccination offer in town (liberal doctor, nurse’s office, etc.) is also available for the children most at risk.
► Monday, January 23, 2023: pharmacies can order bottles of Comirnaty® pediatric vaccine 6 months – 4 years (Pfizer-BioNTech) for state-certified doctors, midwives and nurses (IDE) who request it and who will thus be able to vaccinate all children eligible for this vaccination. Vaccination is not possible in pharmacies for this age group.
With which vaccine? Pfizer?
The vaccination of these children is done with the pediatric form of the COMIRNATY vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech laboratoriesa product specially designed for children aged 6 months to 4 years (COVID 19 VACCINE PFIZER PED 6M4A) This is a form of the vaccine specifically adapted to this age group, with a dosage of 3 µg of mRNA per dosedifferent from the form of the vaccine suitable for children aged 5 to 11 (which contains 10 µg of mRNA per dose). The European Medicines Agency issued a positive opinion on October 19, 2022 regarding its use in this age group. The High Authority for Health had recommended its use on December 15, 2022.
How many doses for these young children?
The vaccination of these young children at risk of a severe form of Covid includes the injection of 3 doses of the pediatric form of the Pfizer vaccine (3 µg of mRNA/dose):
► The first two doses should be given 21 days apart (Three weeks).
► The third injection should be performed 8 weeks after the second.
It is possible to receive another vaccine from the immunization schedule concomitantly with the COMIRNATY vaccine 6 months-4 years (flu vaccine for example). If these are not administered on the same day, no specific deadline is not to be observed between the two injections.
Where is the injection done in young children?
In infants aged 6 to less than 12 months, it is recommended to perform the injection in the anterolateral aspect of the thigh.
In children aged 1 year and older, it is recommended to perform the injection in the anterolateral aspect of the thigh or in the deltoid muscle.
What to do if the child catches Covid during the vaccination?
In the event of infection with Covid-19, a period of 3 months must be respected between the infection and the injection.
Even in the event of Covid-19 infection occurring before the start of the vaccination schedule or between the different injections (for example: an infection occurring before the 1st injection, or between the 1st and 2nd injection or between the 2nd and 3rd injection ), the 3 doses will ultimately have to be carried out, in order to have optimal protection. The protection provided by only two doses for this age group is insufficient. It is important to complete a vaccination schedule that has been started. In case of Covid-19 infection, a period of 3 months must be respected between the infection and the injection.
Sources: DSG opinion of 19 January 2023 on the opening of Covid vaccination to children aged 6 months to 4 years at risk / Covid-19: HAS opens vaccination for children aged 6 months to 4 years at risk of serious forms, December 19, 2022 / European Medicines Agency (EMA)