With the new coronavirus Omicron strain, the spread of infection in children, which was previously low, continues.

Inoculation to children aged 5 to 11 will begin after March, but what are your preparations now?

I summarized the current situation.

Infection in children spreads What is the effect of the vaccine?

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the number of newly infected persons under the age of 10 was 149 in the week until December 28, 2021, 353 by January 4, 2022, and 2238 by January 11. The number of people has continued to increase to 12,947 by January 18, 41,863 by January 25, and 67,564 by February 1.

In the United States, approximately 4.2 million children have been confirmed to be infected in 2022.

By February 3, the number of newly infected children in the week was more than 630,000, which is declining but more than double the peak of the Delta strain period.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that children with severe symptoms have a rate of 0.1 to 1.5% hospitalization and a mortality rate of 0 to 0.01%.

Even in Japan, the age of vaccinated subjects has been reduced to 5 years old, and in Pfizer clinical trials, the effect of preventing the onset between 5 and 11 years old is 90.7%, and the symptoms that appear after vaccination are generally mild to moderate. It is said that it was about.

Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare Inoculation from 5 to 11 years old

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare calls for inoculation of children aged 5 to 11 through the local government, but for the time being, parents should try to get their children inoculated because the effectiveness against Omicron strains is not clear. I have decided not to make it an "obligatory effort".

At a subcommittee meeting of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare held last month on how to proceed with Pfizer's vaccine from 5 to 11 years old, experts' opinions were divided on whether to make it an "effort obligation" under the Vaccination Law, and on the 10th , The discussion was held again.

Among them, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has decided not to make it an "effort obligation" that parents must try to inoculate their children for the time being because the data on the effectiveness of the vaccine for children against Omicron strains is insufficient. I made a suggestion.

When the data is fully prepared, we will discuss again whether to make it an obligation to make efforts.

On the other hand, the proposal was approved by saying that inoculation to children has already been approved in Europe and the United States and that safety has been confirmed, and that a call for inoculation will be made through the local government, such as sending a pre-examination slip to the home.

In addition, experts have requested that companies take care so that parents can take time off so that applicants can easily receive vaccinations even if they are not obliged to make efforts.

In response to this, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has announced that it will create an environment that is easy to receive vaccinations, and will introduce the effects and side reactions of vaccines on its website from the 10th.

In addition, we will start delivering vaccines to local governments from the week of the 21st of this month, and we will have local governments that are ready to start vaccination in sequence.

Many "inoculation recommended" overseas

Overseas, there are many countries that recommend Pfizer's new coronavirus vaccine to children aged 5 to 11 years.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the United States, Canada, France, Israel, and the EU-European Union recommend vaccination for all children aged 5 to 11.

In addition, ▼ Germany recommends vaccination to children with underlying diseases, and ▼ the United Kingdom says that children with a high risk of aggravation suffering from chronic lung disease can be vaccinated.

In addition, ▼ WHO = World Health Organization recommends inoculation to children who have an underlying disease and are at significant risk of becoming severe.

"Is it an effort? Is it an obligation?" A voice of confusion from parents

Many parents asked us to explain the vaccination of children and the idea of ​​"obligation to make efforts" in an easy-to-understand manner.

The mother of a 6-year-old girl said, "I think the vaccine is big for the infection to settle down, so I want my child to get the vaccine. I hope I can do it as soon as possible because the infection is so widespread."

The mother of a 7-year-old boy said, "When I hear that children are often mildly infected, I don't know how much they need to be vaccinated, and I'm worried about side reactions, so I didn't give them immediately. I would like to take a look at the situation. If the corona converges faster if the child also inoculates, I would like you to explain a little more about the meaning of the inoculation and how it differs depending on whether it becomes an "effort obligation" or not. I was talking.

The father of a 7-year-old boy said, "I'm not sure if the word'effort obligation'means effort or obligation. How important is the inoculation of children? I want you to convey it in a more understandable way. "

What is "obligation to make efforts"?

"Obligation to make efforts" is a provision of the Immunization Law that you must try to get vaccinated.

It is applied to many routine vaccines such as rubella, but it is up to the individual to choose whether or not to receive the vaccine.

There are no legal coercions or penalties.

In response, a member of the subcommittee of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare pointed out that "the obligation to make efforts is compulsory, so we should send it to the public so that they can understand it properly."

At the subcommittee on the 10th, it was agreed that vaccination of children is not obligatory for parents for the time being, but "the public understands that vaccination is recommended but no effort is obligatory." There were a series of voices asking for a polite explanation, such as "I'm worried."

Children waiting for vaccination

At hospitals where children with serious illnesses or underlying illnesses are treated, there are calls for immediate vaccination of children.

The National Center for Child Health and Development in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo is a hospital specializing in advanced medical care for children with serious illnesses and underlying illnesses.

As of the 8th, about 20 people, mainly children receiving treatment for childhood cancer and heart disease, have been hospitalized with the new corona, and 3 of them have moderate disease requiring oxygen inhalation. is.

Hitoshi Kato, director of the National Center for Child Health and Development, said, "In the sixth wave, the number of infections in children with underlying diseases has increased significantly, and after the beginning of the year, there are clearly many cases that require treatment such as oxygen inhalation and steroid administration. Especially for children who are using immunosuppressive drugs, there is a high risk of getting sick if they get infected, and the illness of corona may affect the treatment plan for their illness. "

As the child's infection spreads, parents are increasingly saying that they want to get the vaccination as soon as possible and whether or not to get the vaccination.

Kato said, "I have to say that it is too late for the inoculation to start because there was concern that the main battlefield of Omicron strains would be children from overseas situations. It is important to have vaccination options given the limited number of drugs available to treat the disease, and preparations should be made as soon as possible so that those who wish to receive it can be vaccinated as soon as possible. "

Municipal inoculation preparations proceed, but “there is no prospect of securing”

Koto-ku, Tokyo, which plans to start vaccination with the new coronavirus for children aged 5 to 11 from next month, sent out a vaccination ticket on the 10th.

On the other hand, at present, the amount of vaccine indicated by the national government is only about 20% of the number of subjects, so "I want you to show the prospect of securing as soon as possible."

Regarding the new coronavirus vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 years old, Koto Ward is scheduled to start on the 5th of next month according to the national policy.

At Keisa, the vaccination tickets for about 32,000 people were delivered to the ward office, and the person in charge opened the box to check the vaccination tickets inside and the number of cardboard boxes.

In the ward, we plan to prepare a quota for 1700 people a week for group inoculation at ward facilities and individual inoculation at hospitals and clinics with pediatricians.

However, the number of specific vaccines supplied by the government is currently about 6000, which is only about 20% of the total number of subjects.

For this reason, the ward will limit the acceptance of reservations to children with underlying illness on the 21st of this month, and will accept children without underlying illness from the next day.

Also, if the reservation is filled, it is unlikely that the next reservation will start.

Mr. Masashi Nemoto, Manager of the New Coronavirus Vaccination Promotion Office in Koto Ward, said, "There are a series of infections among children in the ward, and while there are expectations that they want to get rid of them quickly, there are also voices of anxiety such as side reactions. The ward wants to create a system where it can hit the desired child without waiting, so I want the country to get the vaccine as soon as possible. "