The “imprint” of the coronavirus on Greek children is heavy: How many were hospitalized, how many ended up

The Federation of Independent Pediatricians of Greece expresses its concern about the low rates of vaccination of children against the covid-19 infection. As pediatricians point out, serious illnesses and losses due to the coronavirus are limited in the minor population, however, it cannot be overlooked that dramatically higher illnesses and deaths are recorded compared to other infectious diseases for which the pediatric population is universally vaccinated.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) until November 1, 2022, more than 123 million cases of Covid-19 were reported worldwide in children, adolescents and young people up to 20 years of age. About 60,000 children and teenagers ended up with the disease and its complications.

In Hellas according to data presented at the two-day meeting of the Hellenic Society of Pediatric Infections in Thessaloniki, until the end of November 2022, 7,627 children had been hospitalized, of which 75 required admission to the ICU while 11 ended up.

“Although the majority of children have a mild disease, there is still a strong possibility that they will have a severe disease and need hospitalization, while they also have other serious complications of the disease, such as the multiorgan inflammatory syndrome MIS-C (more than 130 children in our country ) and of course the Long-COVID” says the president of the Federation, Mr. Kostas Daloukas.

Indeed, in the age group of children from 6 months to 5 years during the period of dominance of the Omicron variant and its sub-variants, high rates of hospitalization are recorded. It is estimated that 2/3 of them hospitalizations of minors due to coronavirus concern this age group, which makes this particular group of children a target group for disease prevention through vaccination. Recently, the International Union of Epidemiologists called for universal vaccination of the pediatric population.

The 5 benefits of vaccination

According to Federation of Pediatriciansits benefits vaccination they are important both in terms of individual and public health. Particularly:

1) Vaccinated children are less likely to get infected with Covid-19.
2) If infected they are less likely to be admitted to hospital, ICU or much less likely to die or develop MIS-C.
3) Vaccination offers protection against complications related to Covid-19 and may reduce the disproportionate health effects on children already incurred by prolonged control measures.
4) Even children who have been sick have a benefit as the hybrid immunity (disease and vaccination) is superior to the immunity provided by either disease or vaccine alone.
5) From a public health perspective, the more children who are vaccinated, the less the virus will circulate and therefore the better the disease will be controlled.

Vaccination at ages 5-11 years

The updated vaccine for these ages has recently been approved by the EMA. “It is therefore important that children who have been vaccinated in the previous season, i.e. 6-12 months ago or it has been a long time since the last time they got sick, to protect themselves with this vaccine” point out the representatives of the pediatricians, reminding that there is already vast experience of booster vaccination in these ages with the administration of millions of doses worldwide, with a very good safety profile and high efficacy

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