U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, right, looks on as Dr. Paul Offit, speaks during a news conference Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, in Philadelphia.
Matt Rourke | AP
Children need to be vaccinated against Covid-19, a top advisor to the Food and Drug Administration on children’s vaccines told the agency Thursday.
“It just seems silly to think that we’re not going to have to include children as part of that,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and advisor to the FDA. “They can suffer and be hospitalized and occasionally die.”
He said 300 kids have died from Covid so far.
Offit, a voting member of the agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, was speaking during the panel’s meeting discussing the use of Covid-19 vaccines in children as young as 6 months old.
“We have variants that are becoming more contagious, which means you need a higher level of population immunity … for years if not decades,” Offit said. He also said that we still vaccinate children for polio every year even though we haven’t had a case of polio since the 1970s.
Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that nearly 4 million children have tested positive for Covid since the onset of the pandemic. Last week, more than 16,000 new cases in children were reported, the lowest since June 2020, according to the data. In states reporting, less than 1% of all child Covid cases resulted in death, the AAP wrote on its website.
“I think come winter, we’re going to really see how well we’re doing in terms of population immunity,” Offit said. “The notion that we are not going to have to vaccinate children going forward I think is wrong.”