MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. Inoculating young people against COVID-19 in Russia will not be very effective amid the current surge of the incidence, the vaccination should have been launched when the Omicron variant just appeared, infectious disease doctor Evgeny Timakov told TASS on Sunday.
"I would be better if this jab was developed and put into service in autumn, when the incidence of Delta increased and Omicron just appeared. Because currently, the incidence [of Omicron] is already surging, and almost all children <…> have already contacted with this variant at schools. Meanwhile, it takes a month and a half to develop immunity," the expert noted. "Speaking about mass vaccination, it will not be very efficient against the Omicron variant now."
Timakov pointed out that overall, the COVID-19 incidence among children has substantially increased. "Given that the infection is highly contagious, one person can infect about ten people, [it means] that one person can infect the whole class, which is most likely. As a result, as many kids get ill, the COVID-19 hospitals are already filled with children," the doctor mentioned.
In turn, founder and CEO of the DNKOM Research Center of Molecular Genetic Studies Andrey Isaev told TASS that in order to protect children, the schools should switch to online learning. "Children are becoming infected with Omicron, and now kindergartens and schools are one of the main links in the epidemiological chain. Hence, I believe that other regions need to follow the Chelyabinsk Region’s example and switch to remote learning. As a father, I understand that this negatively affects students’ motivation and quality of education. But now there is no choice - the sooner we do it, the better," Isaev stated.
On November 24, 2021, the Russian Health Ministry authorized the Sputnik M COVID-19 vaccine for young people aged from 12 to 17, consisting of two components. Vaccination of children under the age of 15 requires parental consent, while young people aged over 15 can decide for themselves.