Now that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for kids 5-11 in Canada, parents need to decide if they will have their children inoculated.
In a recent Angus Reid poll, half of parents said they planned on doing so, 23 per cent said they will not and 18 per cent said they will, eventually. With approximately 90 per cent of Canadian kids receiving vaccines for measles, mumps, chickenpox and other contagious diseases, one wonders why such a large percentage of people are hesitant to protect them from COVID-19. It may be, in part, because of misinformation about vaccines circulating throughout social media as well as the false belief that kids are not at all at risk from this virus.
There are many reasons to argue for vaccination in kids. Although children and youth are less likely to get really sick from COVID-19, they can still fall ill, spread it to others, experience longer-term effects, and get a rare but serious complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). Also, those with certain underlying medical conditions may have a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
With the pandemic, youth have gone to hospital emergency rooms in droves suffering from anxiety and depression brought on by isolation imposed on them during these past almost two years. The number of kids developing eating disorders and self-harming has also greatly increased during this time. Our young people have suffered greatly and we can help reduce further psychological damage by getting them vaccinated.
Kids now have the highest incidence of COVID-19 in the country, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. That means they are infecting others and the spread of the virus continues; we need young people protected so we can better ward off the virus and reduce overall transmission.
Health Canada has reviewed the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in kids. According to the studies, the vaccine was 90.7 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19 in children and produced no serious side effects.
The cases of COVID-19 in many European countries are surging, despite some that have very high rates of vaccinations in adults. There are several theories as to why this is the case but it should drive home the message that we need every tool in our arsenal to fight this pandemic. And inoculating children is a big part in being successful in this ongoing battle.
Approximately 88 per cent of people over the age of 12 in Quebec are fully vaccinated. This is a very good statistic – let’s keep up the good work. Have your kids vaccinated; the science has proven it’s safe, it will protect them and others around them, and hopefully help circumvent another surge in our country.
About the vaccine
The vaccine dose given to kids 5-11 is one third of the amount administered to those 12 and older. According to Health Canada, in clinical trials, lower doses provided children with very good protection against COVID-19. Children should receive two doses and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that the second dose should be given at least eight weeks after the first dose.
According to the vaccine studies, the most common side effects were pain at the site of injection followed by fatigue and headaches. The Government of Canada has a lot of information for parents about the vaccine for kids. There are short videos that answer questions such as ‘how do I know the vaccines are safe? and ‘what are the side effects’.
How to prepare your kids for their vaccination
It is normal for young kids to be nervous about getting vaccinated. Needles can be scary for this age group. Read these tips from Immunize BC about how to prepare your kids for their shot.