A recent study showed that there is a 43% increase in autoimmune diseases in the months following a COVID infection. And autoimmune diseases among kids were already on the rise. The question becomes how best to guard against COVID and the long tail of impact on children.
With some vaccines, it can be important for the whole community to take them because they help prevent transmission and help prevent the vulnerable among us from becoming infected. The COVID booster is a bit different than that. It decreases transmission little if any. It does boost antibodies for a period of time, it may make it a bit less likely that your child gets sick, and less likely that your child gets sick enough to be hospitalized or in the ICU.
Having said that, at this stage in the arc of the COVID story, the odds of your child getting sick enough to be hospitalized are about 4 in a million. It’s a rare event. Based on that the National Health Services in the UK has recently released an analysis of the number needed to treat to prevent hospitalization. It’s about 342,000 kids that need to be vaccinated to prevent one child from being sick enough to be hospitalized.
The decision to boost or not boost is an individual decision worth discussing with your doctor. Each child has different risks, so the risk-benefit calculation may be different. For most kids, there is no rush to boost.
Paul Offit, MD, one of the leading experts on vaccines and a strong proponent of vaccines is encouraging waiting boosting children. I agree.
Bivalent Covid-19 Vaccines – A Cautionary Tale
National Health Services of the UK Weekly COVID-19 Vaccinations Reports
Risk of autoimmune diseases in patients with COVID-19: A retrospective cohort study