Immunity, vaccination, and reopening of schools: What's in store for children? |
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Immunity, vaccination, and reopening of schools: What's in store for children?

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Immunity and COVID

Immunity is a protective measure of the body to protect it against external invasions such as infections caused by pathogens, pollutants or others. Immunity in children is not developed completely, hence understanding the innate immune system of children might be the key to understanding protection against or susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. The innate immune cells act as sensors to any changes in the microenvironment and respond in a more nonspecific manner to pathogens.1

The body’s Adaptive immune system has T cells, which learns to recognize pathogens that are confronted over the lifetime. Studies have shown that the T-cells of children are mostly untrained, so they identify the invasion of a new virus faster and hence responds faster than in adults. The kids lacked nucleocapsid-specific antibodies, which is necessary for viral replication. Children’s immune responses probably eliminate the virus before it starts replicating in huge numbers.2

Vaccinations can prevent serious illness, medical expenses and disease outbreaks. Vaccines reduce the risk of infection both in children and adults by working with the body’s natural defences to help safely develop immunity to disease. Reports state that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved in the UK for use among children over 12 yrs. In Europe, and countries France, Netherlands and Italy have started vaccinating children over 12 yrs with the Pfizer vaccine.3

In the Indian scenario, the vaccine by Zydus Cadila has concluded its trials for the 12-18 age group and Bharat Biotech’s vaccine, Covaxin has received permission to conduct trials among children between 2 and 18 yrs. Hence, India is still in the process of confirming vaccination for children. Further, it was reported that there are about 13 to 14 crore population in the age group of 2-18 yrs which require about 25-26 crore doses of vaccine, so it needs to be decided which vaccine would be available to all.4

Reports state that though the Covid-19 has not impacted children more the mutating nature of the coronavirus has created fear among common people concerning the spread of COVID-19 infection among children. Due to the lockdown, the closing of schools, restrictions in outdoor activities mental health of children have been affected greatly. So, reopening the schools and resuming the outdoor activities have become important Hence, vaccinating the children should be the key priority. Reports state that vaccines for children in India could be available around September when data from Phase two and three trials of Bharat Biotech′s Covaxin on the age group of 2-18 years would be available.

Thus, currently, vaccination among children seems to be the best way to resume normal life among them and bring back the enthusiasm and healthy social life and is crucial to prevent during and post-pandemic challenges.

References:

  1. BethHumphrey, J. F. C. M. C. N. M. Basic and Applied Bone Biology. 2nd ed.; Vol. Chapter 17 - Bone and the Immune System (Osteoimmunology), 2019; 333-347.
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03496-7
  3. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-57888429
  4. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/when-can-kids-go-back-to-school-aiims-director-has-an-answer-101624846206379.html
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