Vaccinating children could be key to stifling COVID, say experts

While Covid-19 is associated with a considerably lower burden of morbidity and mortality in young people, and there is evidence that children may be less likely to acquire the infection, the role of children in transmission is unclear, according to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Until everybody – including children – is vaccinated, said John Edmunds, a member of the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) on Sunday, there remained a “significant risk of a resurgence” of the virus.

The virus can also cause asymptomatic infections across all age groups, so, in a sense, immunising children will protect the elderly, added Stanley Plotkin, who invented the rubella vaccine, co-invented the rotavirus vaccine and helped develop other vaccines, including those for anthrax, polio, and rabies.

“I cannot imagine how we could even hope to eradicate the virus, unless we are willing to immunise the majority of the population,” he said.