AAFP calls for FDA authorization of children’s COVID-19 shots

The organization wants the current emergency use authorization to be expanded to include patients under 12.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider emergency use authorization for patients under 12 to receive a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

In a statement AAFP President Ada D. Stewart, MD, says that the Delta variant has increased the risk of infection with the deadly disease.

“The surge of the Delta variant and the alarming rise in pediatric COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations underscore the need to reevaluate the risk-benefit analysis for this age group, as the risk for severe and long-lasting impacts on health outcomes in unvaccinated children is increasing,” the statement says. “Family physicians play an instrumental role in caring for, counseling, and immunizing children and their families, and are uniquely positioned to discuss and distribute the vaccine in the communities in which they serve.”

Yesterday, the American College of Physicians (ACP) says that requiring masks to be worn in school should be part of an area’s comprehensive public health strategy to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“As a country, we have all been watching the number of COVID-19 cases rising precipitously over the past month,” said George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, president of ACP. “We need to ensure that we are availing ourselves of the public health measures available to us to combat this spread. This should include requiring all individuals, students, teachers, and staff, to wear masks in schools.”

Despite early belief that children may not be susceptible to COVID-19, the latest report from the AAP found that as of July 29, nearly 4.2 million children have tested positive for the disease since the beginning of the pandemic and that infections steadily increased in July after declining earlier in the summer, Contemporary Pediatrics reports.

Children are still making up a small proportion of those hospitalized, accounting for between 1.3 percent and 3.5 percent of all hospitalizations. Between 0.1 percent and 1.9 percent of all child COVID cases have resulted in hospitalization.

“Vaccination is currently the leading public health strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” Stewart says in the statement. “To that end, the AAFP believes it’s critical that children under 12 have access to a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. As children across the nation return to school in-person, we encourage the FDA to carefully consider the impact of its regulatory decisions on the timing of availability of COVID-19 vaccines for children. We applaud the FDA’s ongoing commitment to advancing evidence-based immunizations and treatments for COVID-19. Every ounce of prevention—especially vaccination—helps us combat this virus."