Wells: Mitch wrote in asking about COVID and being pregnant. His spouse works in a rehab hospital that takes COVID-positive sufferers, and he says they’re anticipating to get the vaccine within the subsequent couple of weeks. His spouse could be very able to get it, however she’s nursing. Assuming she is allowed to get it, what might be the attainable dangers?
Zhang: We let pregnant and nursing girls get flu vaccines and different vaccines. There’s no purpose to assume that there’s any specific threat. The FDA has mentioned pregnant and nursing girls can get it. They’re form of being further tremendous conservative, as a result of no pregnant girls have been within the scientific trials. However simply given what we find out about how vaccines work, there’s no purpose to assume that it is going to be notably harmful for them. And there may be knowledge to counsel that the chance of COVID-19 once you’re pregnant is increased.
Hamblin: Amanda asks: “How lengthy will it’s earlier than children will be vaccinated? Have been children included in these trials?”
Zhang: No. Children as younger as 12 are at the moment in scientific trials for Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, however they weren’t included in these the primary scientific trials.
Wells: And why weren’t they? Is that typical?
Zhang: Yeah, they often begin with adults. After which if it’s protected in adults, you go right down to children. I might possibly not anticipate children to get vaccinated within the subsequent yr. It is dependent upon how previous the youngsters are. I believe for these underneath 12: positively not. Teenagers: presumably.
We simply don’t even have the information on how effectively the vaccine works in children. It in all probability will work given how effectively it’s working proper now—however the different consideration, in fact, is ensuring that it’s protected in children, and the negative effects are effectively tolerated.
Wells: We simply talked about how we don’t have the information for pregnant girls, however [for them] we predict the advantages outweigh the dangers. What’s totally different?
Zhang: The [COVID] dangers to children are simply a lot decrease than for adults that I believe we need to ensure the advantages are very, very, very clear earlier than we begin giving [the vaccine] to children.
Wells: Acquired it—so it’s as a result of children have usually not likely gotten that sick. Possibly one thing that may assist give slightly context for all of those solutions is knowing slightly bit extra about how the vaccine truly works. We had a query from Nathan, who mentioned: “I’m questioning when you would be capable to focus on the know-how behind the BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, what it means for the way forward for vaccines, and what it means for a future remedy of different ailments. I’ve been shocked chatting with realized associates who’ve acknowledged they won’t take the vaccine for a variety of causes, together with worry of the brand new know-how.”
Zhang: These are mRNA vaccines. And yeah, we’ve by no means had mRNA vaccines authorized earlier than—however we’ve had years and years of analysis going into mRNA vaccines, which is a part of the explanation we haven’t truly been capable of get them out so shortly. It actually builds on years and years of scientists within the lab attempting to determine actually minute particulars about how to ensure RNA does or doesn’t elicit the proper immune response.