June 27, 2022

U.S. Senator Bob Casey, right, watches as Dr. Paul Offit speaks during a press conference in Philadelphia on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015.

Matt Rourke | AP

Children need to be vaccinated against Covid-19, a top advisor to the Food and Drug Administration’s childhood vaccines told the agency on Thursday.

“It just seems silly to think that we don’t need to involve children,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and advisor to the FDA. “They can suffer and be hospitalized and occasionally die.”

He said 300 children had died of Covid so far.

Offit, a voting member of the Agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, spoke about the use of Covid-19 vaccines in children 6 months of age during the panel’s meeting.

“We have variants that are becoming more contagious, which means you need higher population immunity … for years, if not decades,” Offit said. He also said that we vaccinate children against polio every year, although we haven’t had a polio case since the 1970s.

Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that nearly 4 million children have tested positive for Covid since the pandemic began. In the past week, the data said more than 16,000 new cases in children were reported, the lowest since June 2020. In states reported, less than 1% of all Covid cases in children resulted in death, the AAP wrote their website.

“I think in winter we will really see how well we do on population immunity,” Offit said. “I think the idea that we will no longer have to vaccinate children in the future is wrong.”