Friday, October 01, 2021

UK: Astonishing charts show how Covid poses a tiny threat to children (even if they HAVEN'T had any vaccines): Official data shows risk of dying from virus is one in 300,000 for 10 to 14-year-olds

Figures published by the Department of Health highlight the tiny risk children face from coronavirus, which becomes deadlier the older a person is.

They show around one in 330,000 boys aged between 10 and 14 and one in 200,000 girls of the same age who test positive for Covid end up dying. The rates include both healthy children and those with underlying health conditions which put them at a much higher risk of death.

Separate figures also show unvaccinated children also face smaller odds of succumbing to the illness than fully-vaccinated adults in their twenties — another age-group known to be at little risk.

Britain's vaccine advisory panel, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), has said that the risk of Covid death in a healthy child is around one in 2million.

For comparison, the figures suggest one in every 25 people over the age of 90 who catch Covid succumb to the disease. For people in their 80s it is about one in 90 and those in their 60s have a death rate of about one per 1,000 — rates which have been drastically slashed by vaccines.

Scientists today said the findings for children were 'reassuring'. It comes after millions of 12 to 15-year-olds were made eligible for a single dose of Pfizer's jab last week.

The JCVI said earlier this month that immunising them would only provide 'marginal' benefit to their health, which was not enough to advise a mass rollout.

But the experts recommended that ministers sought the advice of Professor Chris Whitty and the chief medical officers in the devolved nations. They came down in favour of expanding the inoculation drive after weighing up the wider benefits to children, claiming that hundreds of thousands of school absences could be prevented.

Latest official figures show that within 28 days of testing positive for the virus, 0.5 girls aged 10 to 14 will die from the virus per 100,000. The figure for boys of the same age is 0.3 per 100,000.

Covid is deadlier as people get older — but the risk among 15 to 19-year-olds is still low at 1.1 per 100,000 for girls and 1.9 per 100,000 for boys.

Meanwhile, men aged 50 to 54 face a 72.8 per 100,000 risk of dying once becoming infected, while the figure for women is 43.8.

The risk rises dramatically among the oldest groups, with 4,092 women aged over 90 who catch the virus dying per 100,000, while the figure is 6,035 for men.

Earlier this month, the JCVI said just two healthy children per million would be admitted to hospital for Covid, while those with underlying conditions were more at risk - at 100 per million.

Meanwhile, three to 17 children per million were estimated to develop rare vaccine side effect myocarditis after receiving a single dose of Pfizer. The figure rose to 12 to 34 per million after the second dose.

It found the Covid pandemic may have exacerbated the mental health crisis in young people, with two-thirds of children saying their lives were worse in lockdown.

The report estimated 17.4 per cent of children aged six to 16 had a 'probable' mental disorder now, compared to 11.6 per cent, or one in nine, in 2017.

In older teens, the prevalence of mental health issues is believed to have risen from one in 10 to one in six, according to the survey of more than 3,600 youngsters.

Two-thirds of under-16s claimed lockdowns had made their lives worse, with social isolation and school closures to blame.

Meanwhile, the proportion of youngsters with eating problems has almost doubled since 2017 to 13 per cent.

Nearly one in six older teens were suspected of having an eating disorder, which could include anorexia and bulimia in extreme cases.

Professor Dame Til Wykes, a clinical psychologist at King's College London, said the rises 'may have been accelerated by the pandemic'.

She told MailOnline: 'But it seems part of a longer term progression and recognition of mental health difficulties in the young.'

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show 23 children aged 14 and under who died this year had the virus listed on their death certificate.

This doesn't mean the virus was the underlying cause in all cases, but catching the virus may have contributed to their death.

The number of children aged five to 14 who will die from the virus is 14 per million, according to estimates from the chief medical officers, which is lower than the risk posed from seasonal flu infections.

And the proportion of children who develop Covid symptoms and require hospital care is 0.1 per cent for under-nines and 0.3 per cent for 10 to 19-year-olds.

Professor Paul Hunter, an expert in medicine at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline: 'JCVI believes that the health benefits of immunizing 12 to 16 year olds is marginal and I think they are right.

'Because younger age groups are even less likely to suffer severe consequences from Covid and possibly be more at risk of myocarditis.

'I do not think JCVI would support immunising children under 11 and I think they would be right.'

But he warned it is difficult to interpret official death data, because it includes fatalities where Covid was a 'coincidental finding' as well as people who died from the virus.

This is 'less of an issue' among older groups because the proportion of all deaths that were due to Covid was high, but could be more inaccurate among children because there was so few deaths.

He added: 'Of course death is not the only adverse outcome of Covid, so should not be all the reason why we decide whether or not to vaccinate any particular age group.

'But all the evidence points to younger age groups having less severe non-fatal disease anyway.'

Professor Helen Bedford, an expert in children's health at University College London Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health: ‘It is reassuring that the latest figures from the Department of Health confirm children and young people to be at very low risk of dying from Covid.

'The recent decision to offer Covid vaccine to young people over the age of 12 years is based on its wider benefits such as reducing disruption to schooling.

'A recent UK study showing that most over 12-year-olds were willing to accept the vaccine suggests the programme will be successful.'

Professor David Livermore, a microbiologist at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline: 'Vaccination of the elderly and vulnerable is clearly of benefit. Given that vaccine efficacy fades over time, boosters are likely to be warranted for these folks.

'The figures don't however justify vaccinating healthy children, whose death rate from Covid is tiny, at around 0.1 to 1.9 per 100,000.

'What is more, most of the few children who have died had underlying health issues. There is general agreement, and a recommendation from the JCVI, that this minority of unwell children should be vaccinated.'


AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine shows 74% efficacy against infection in US trial as the company plans to file for full FDA approval this fall

AstraZeneca Plc's COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective against infection - especially among older adults, according to new data from the company's U.S. clinical trial.

The vaccine, developed with researchers from the University of Oxford, was found to be 74 percent effective against symptomatic Covid infection.

Efficacy increased to nearly 84 percent among participants who were aged 65 and older.

This makes AstraZeneca's vaccine less protective against infection than the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines at 88.8 percent and 96.3 percent, respectively, but more protective than Johnson & Johnson's vaccine at 70 percent.

It comes as AstraZeneca plans to seek full approval of the shot with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this fall after numerous setbacks delayed the firm from applying for the faster emergency use authorization (EUA) in the spring.

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 immunization is known as a viral vector vaccine, the same type of shot that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is.

Viral vector vaccines combine genetic material from SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes Covid - with the genes of the adenovirus, which causes the common cold.

The portion taken from SARS-CoV-2 codes for the spike protein that the coronavirus uses to enter and infect cells in order to train the body to recognize the virus and induce an immune response if infected.

For the trial, which has results published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, the team looked at 32,000 volunteers in the U.S., Chile and Peru.

Two-thirds of the volunteers received two shots of the vaccine spaced four weeks apart while the remaining one-third received two placebo shots.

There were no cases of severe or critical symptomatic COVID-19 among the participants who got the vaccine compared with eight such cases among the volunteers who got the placebo.

Additionally, there were two Covid deaths in the placebo group but none among those who received the vaccine.

Researchers determined the COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated 74 percent efficacy at preventing symptomatic disease and 83.5 percent efficacy in people aged 65 and older.

'I was pleasantly surprised,' Dr Anna Durbin, a vaccine researcher at Johns Hopkins University and one of the study's investigators, told Reuters of the overall result.

'It was also highly protective against severe disease and hospitalization.'

The most common side effects reported by the vaccine recipients were general pain, headache, injection-site pain and fatigue.

There were no cases of a rare but serious blood clotting side effect called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia that has been linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The company had originally planned to file for EUA in the U.S. in spring 2021, but suffered several setbacks starting last year.

In September 2020, the U.S. arm of AstraZeneca'a vaccine trial was paused after a British participant was rushed to the hospital following a serious reaction that triggered spinal cord inflammation.

Then the company did not turn over trial safety data to the FDA for a month, further delaying the study's resumption.

When AstraZeneca released results from an interim analysis of its clinical trial showing 79 percent efficacy in March 2021, U.S. health officials claimed the figure was based on 'outdated information.'

The British drugmaker revised the figure days later to 76 percent.

In April, the firm said it was struggling to pull together the data necessary to apply for emergency use authorization in the U.S.

AstraZeneca said in late July it planned to file for full approval with the FDA rather than seek emergency use authorization.

CEO Pascal Soriot told a media briefing at the time he hoped the vaccine could still play a role in the U.S., even though the process was taking longer than expected.

The company is exploring booster doses for people who have already been vaccinated with two doses of either its own shot or mRNA-based vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna.

Durbin told Reuters she does not expect the vaccine to be used much in the U.S., considering most adults have already received one and children are likely to only be allowed to take the Pfizer shot.

But, she added that securing FDA approval 'does give them gravitas.'




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