ITASCA, IL — In a letter to federal health officials this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics urged transparency, scientific rigor, and the inclusion of children in trials for a safe and effective vaccine against the COVID-19 virus.
The letter from AAP President Sally Goza, MD, FAAP, to Alex Azar, JD, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Stephen M. Hahn, MD, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, noted that more than half a million children have been infected with COVID-19 this year, and 109 children have died. More than two-thirds of the children who died were Black and Latinx children.
“Beyond the direct impact of the infection, children have been greatly affected by the pandemic,” Dr. Goza states. “As such, it is counter to the ethical principle of distributive justice to allow children to take on great burdens during this pandemic but not have the opportunity to benefit from a vaccine, or to delay that benefit for an extended period of time, because they have not been included in vaccine trials.”
“Children must be included in vaccine trials to best understand any potential unique immune responses and/or unique safety concerns,” she writes.
The scientific power being brought to bear on the pandemic crisis is “inspiring” and should be commended, Dr. Goza writes. For a COVID-19 vaccine to be effective, it also must be embraced by medical providers and by the public, and so she urges officials to take steps to shore up public confidence in vaccines, including an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Goza urges researchers to follow the same methodical process as all other vaccine candidates, including testing in adequate numbers of people for an appropriate amount of time, and full transparency of data to the public and the scientific community.
Dr. Goza concludes, “We understand that these undoubtedly are difficult times in which to conduct these historically important vaccine trials. We urge you to follow the principles outlined above, as they have been tested and designed to protect the lives of the Americans that the medical community serves.”
Source – AAP – Link