Covid-19: FDA authorises Pfizer vaccine for children 12-15BMJ 2021; 373 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n1204 (Published 11 May 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1204
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On May 10, 2021 the United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) has allowed the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the immunization against SARS-CoV-2 virus to include adolescents ages 12 to 15 years (1). Previously, the USFDA has amended the EUA first issued on December 10, 2020 to include people 16 years of age and older (2).
This action was taken by the USFDA in hoping that children will also be protected against COVID-19. However, we already know that children are less susceptible to COVID-19’s infectivity and have very mild disease endpoints. Pediatric studies have shown that children are less susceptible to COVID-19 and death cases are extremely rare (3, 4). Only 2% of COVID-19 patients are younger than 19 years of age (5). Clinically, mild symptoms were observed with children without pneumonia and recovery was fast (6).
I have previously postulated that the administration of plasma from healthy young people and children might offer a treatment or even a cure for patients infected with COVID-19 (7, 8), which stems from the fact that, as stated above, COVID-19’s infectivity among young people and children is uncommon and it appears that this group is insusceptible to it. This insusceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 might be related to the fact that the thymus gland and its hormones remain active during puberty where the thymus grows and reaches its maximum size and then starts to atrophy (involution). Since the thymus is the primary site of de novo naïve T cell production (9), the presence of thymic hormones in the blood pool might be the reason for the resistance of this group to COVID-19.
Based on the fact that children’s immune system can easily combat COVID-19’s infection and mortality rate is extremely low, I am wondering what is the rationale behind the immunization of adolescents ages 12-15 years or even children in general? It is actually counter-intuitive and foolish to even suggest that this group should be considered for immunization against COVID-19 because this group’s immune system is very robust and highly equipped to fight COVID-19’s infection and it might be even better than vaccination! It is prudent to keep in mind that immunization in this group might result in the exasperation and unnecessary stimulation of this group’s immune system, resulting in the emergence of autoimmune diseases or other diseases that might have deleterious and detrimental health consequences. This action taken by the USFDA seems perilous and should be reversed immediately. However, it might be beneficial to only immunize children against COVID-19 who have a compromised immune system.
1. Tanne JH. Covid-19: FDA authorises Pfizer vaccine for children 12-15. Published Online May 11, 2021. https://www.bmj.com/content/373/bmj.n1204.
2. Food and Drug Administration. Coronavirus (covid-19) update: FDA authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in adolescents in another important action in fight against pandemic. Published Online May 10, 2021. www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-....
3. Deville J, Song E, Ouellette C et al. COVID-19: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis in children. Last Date Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/covid-19-clinical-manifestations-and-d....
4. Rasmussen S, Thompson L. Coronavirus disease 2019 and children what pediatric health care clinicians need to know. JAMA. Published Online April 3, 2020. file:///C:/Users/layla/Downloads/jamapediatrics_rasmussen_2020_vp_200009.pdf.
5. Guan W, Ni Z, Hu Y, et al. Clinical characteristics of coronavirus disease 2019 in China. N Engl J Med. Published Online February 28, 2020. https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/nejmoa2002032.
6. Xu Y, Li X, Zhu B, et al. Characteristics of pediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection and potential evidence for persistent fecal viral shedding. Nat Med (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0817-4.
7. Batarseh KI. Plasma from healthy young people and human thymopoiesis as potential therapy against COVID-19. BMJ. Published Online July 13, 2020. https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1252/rr-29.
8. Batarseh KI. Plasma from Healthy Young People and Human Thymopoiesis as Potential Therapy Against COVID-19: Further and Concrete Up-To-Date Scientific Support. Published Online August 13, 2020. https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m2722/rr-4.
9. Tesselar K, Miedema F. Growth hormone resurrects adult human thymus during HIV-1. J Clin Invest 2008: 118(3): 844-847. https://www.jci.org/articles/view/35112/pdf.
Competing interests: No competing interests