COVID-19 vaccination rates among young Ontario children lower than experts expected

The number of children under the age of 5 being vaccinated against COVID-19 in Ontario is even lower than the relatively small number many experts expected.

Although immunizations for the youngest age groups are available two months in advance, only about 6% of those children receive their first dose.

Ontario’s chief medical officer, Dr. Kieran Moore, said this was lower than he expected to see at this point.

“I would like to encourage more families to consider vaccinating children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years, especially those at high risk,” he said in an interview.

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“We know that more than 5% of children have underlying medical conditions that could lead to worse COVID-related outcomes, and these parents are advised to seek medical attention for this issue. I definitely recommend that you consider discussing the risks and benefits with your provider.”

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Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist and associate professor in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa, said many factors likely contributed to the low uptake, but he still I would have expected a higher number.

“I’m not surprised it’s low. I’m surprised it’s this low,” he said.

Deonandan also pointed out misinformation about vaccine side effects, saying many people believe the pandemic is over and that children won’t get sick from COVID-19.

Deonandan said the way in which messages about vaccine safety and efficacy are communicated to parents is important.

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“This is expressed as ‘Dear Parents, this is a decision you will make and we want to give you all the information we can to be as transparent as possible so that you can make good choices here.’ I have to,” he said.

“What we have to do when we talk about this is a delicate balancing act here. You don’t want to appear to be forcing a foreign object into a child’s body. The population is like that.” Because we know we’re very sensitive to stories, we don’t want to be seen as fear-mongers trying to put the world back into lockdown….but at the same time, we want to advocate for children’s health in general. It’s just.”

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The city of Toronto this week removed a series of videos about COVID-19 vaccinations for children after it hinted that children without the COVID-19 vaccine cannot go out with their friends.

“This video misses the point of that message and should not have been posted,” spokesperson Brad Ross wrote in a statement.

“A series of five videos directed at parents and caregivers about child vaccines has been paused and reviewed to ensure that each message is clear and unambiguous. is safe.”

A pediatrician is someone parents should listen to now, Deonandan said.

“Nobody trusts epidemiologists anymore,” he said. “They no longer trust government doctors. No one trusts virologists anymore. I’m a pediatrician.”

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Moore said he hears from parents that one-on-one conversations are the most effective communication tool.

“When you visit your family doctor, your pediatrician, you get standard immunizations at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, 15 months and 18 months. It’s an opportunity to ask questions about COVID. Immunization,” he said.

“We have work to do to keep the (official) message going. We recognize that the risk of contagion increases, so it will accelerate as we head indoors and head into the fall.”

Dr. Paul Loumeriotis, Health Medical Officer for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, said he hoped to see an acceleration of infant immunizations by the fall, as he expected overall coverage to be around 25-30%. I said I was.

He attributed it to the slow start of the rollout, which started in the summer, the spread of misinformation about the vaccine, and the general hesitancy of parents when it comes to children that age.

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“I’m a pediatrician, and I know parents are always hesitant, whether it’s vaccinations or medications, especially with younger children and babies,” he said.

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“One of the messages we have to send to people is that while the vaccine is not as effective as we would hope against human-to-human transmission, it is certainly very effective against serious disease and its complications. It means that it is effective for

There’s also a complacency factor, says Dr. Anna Banerjee, a pediatrician, infectious disease expert, and associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalarana School of Public Health.

“(People think) ‘Oh, COVID isn’t that bad. It’s just a minor cold in a young child, so don’t worry,'” she said.

“I think a lot of people deny that children, especially younger ones, can get infected and get very seriously ill.”

Public Health Ontario found a significant increase in hospitalizations for infants under one year of age, with 17 children in the week from Sept. 4 to Sept. 10, up from eight in the previous week, in its latest report. said he did. Since the pandemic began, 1,268 of her children in this age group have been hospitalized with her COVID-19. This is a much higher percentage than older children and her teenage children.

Now that schools are reopening, children are much more likely to catch COVID-19, and it’s not just the immediate and long-term effects on young children themselves that parents should keep in mind, says Banerji. said Mr.

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“[They]can infect other children, they can infect them at home, they can infect their grandparents,” she said.

“It’s something that can have a huge impact on someone’s life. So I want to do what you can to reduce the risk of infection. It’s really vaccination.”

© 2022 Canadian Press

COVID-19 vaccination rates among young Ontario children lower than experts expected

Source link COVID-19 vaccination rates among young Ontario children lower than experts expected

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