U.S. Senator Bob Casey, right, watches Dr. Paul Offit speak at a press conference Friday, February 13, 2015 in Philadelphia.
Matt Rourke | PA
Children must be vaccinated against Covid-19, a senior Food and Drug Administration adviser on childhood vaccines told the agency on Thursday.
“It seems silly to think that we are not going to have to include children in this framework,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an adviser to the FDA. “They can suffer and be hospitalized and sometimes die,” he said, noting that 300 children have died from this virus so far.
Offit, a voting member of the agency’s Vaccines and Related Biologics Advisory Committee, was speaking at the panel meeting on the use of Covid-19 vaccines in children as young as 6 months of age.
“We have variants that are becoming more and more contagious, which means you need a higher level of population immunity… for years, if not decades,” Offit said. He also said that we continue to immunize children against polio every year, even though we have not had a case of polio since the 1970s.
Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows nearly 4 million children have tested positive for Covid since the start of the pandemic. Last week, more than 16,000 new cases in children were reported, the lowest since June 2020, according to data. In reporting states, less than 1% of all cases of Covid children have resulted in death, the AAP wrote on its website.
“I think next winter we’re really going to see how well we do in terms of population immunity,” Offit said. “The idea that we are not going to have to immunize children in the future, I think, is wrong.”