Vaccinate children against COVID-19: the decision rests with the parents

More than 20 months after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the turn to vaccinate children from 5 to 11 years old. If you are the parent of a young person of this age, you must decide whether or not they will roll up their sleeve.

“It is a personal choice. You have to take the time to [poser des] questions and feel comfortable, “said Prime Minister François Legault, during a press conference organized to launch this new stage in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

Legault said he wanted to prevent children from being singled out for not being vaccinated. He specified that the latter will not have to present the vaccination passport to eat in a restaurant or attend a show.

If you decide to vaccinate your children, you can accompany them to a vaccination center by making an appointment on the Clic Santé portal. You can also let him meet a vaccinator with his classmates starting November 29. Depending on the school, students will be vaccinated on the spot or will be taken to a vaccination center.

The Quebec government is hopeful that all children between the ages of 5 and 11 who do not have a contraindication will be able to receive a first dose before the holidays, if their parents agree. There are 650,000 in this age group in Quebec.

One third of the dose for older people.

These children will be given two 10-microgram doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was recently approved by Health Canada. This is one third of the dose that is offered to people over 12 years of age. Those who have already been infected with COVID-19 will be able to receive just one.

Like the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), the Quebec Immunization Committee (CIQ) recommended that an eight-week interval elapse between the two doses. “Such an interval could improve both the effectiveness and the safety of the vaccine,” he said in a notice sent to the Quebec government.

The effectiveness of the vaccine designed by the German-American consortium for young people under 12 years of age reaches 90.7%, according to the results of clinical trials.

The secundary effects

The side effects experienced by children during clinical trials are similar to those seen in other vaccinates: fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and joint pain. These temporary discomforts, which usually appear within four days after the injection, are more numerous after the second dose. No cases of allergies have been reported and no deaths have occurred.

“We closely follow cases of myocarditis and inflammation of the heart,” emphasizes Dr. Nicholas Brousseau, a physician at the National Institute of Public Health (INSPQ) and president of the CIQ. The good news is that in the clinical studies there were no cases in children 5 to 11 years old. “

If the INSPQ remains vigilant, it is because cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been reported among adolescents and young adults, mostly men. In the week following the COVID-19 vaccination, they experienced chest pain and shortness of breath. If you notice that your child experiences these side effects, see a doctor immediately.

Justified vaccination?

Only 1.1% of children under the age of 10 have been hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Given the circumstances, is vaccinating them justified?

Currently, during this fourth wave, children under the age of nine are the population group most infected by COVID-19. They represent 20% of the cases, according to INSPQ data. As soon as they receive a positive result or if they have been around an infected person, they must isolate themselves for 10 days, which prevents them from attending school.

«[Ces enfants] they are also important transmission vectors, Dr. Brousseau emphasizes. This vaccine is expected to help slow the transmission of the disease. “

Even if they are not very sick while they are infected, these young people can develop complications in the following weeks. About 6 in 100,000 children have multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) in Canada, according to the CIQ. “[Ces jeunes] They have a strong reaction that can affect certain organs, in particular the heart, specifies the INSPQ medical advisor. This syndrome can cause very serious health problems. “

Children also suffer from COVID in the long term. From 0.7 to 4.6% of minors are affected, the CIQ mentions in its opinion. They experience fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, insomnia, and shortness of breath for up to 12 weeks after becoming infected, and even 8 months later in some cases.

Free and informed consent

As a parent, it is up to you to decide whether or not to vaccinate your child. If you proceed, you must give your free and informed consent, either verbally or in writing.

Don’t you and your partner share the same point of view? If you cannot reach an agreement, the court will decide, specifies the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Update on third doses

Long-term care home (CHLSD) residents have received a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination teams are currently working to administer a new dose to people living in private homes for the elderly (RPA), as well as people 70 years of age and older who received the second dose for more than six months. At the moment, the CIQ does not recommend administering a third dose to the rest of the population eligible for vaccination, with the exception of immunosuppressed people.

>> Also read: Quebec is preparing for flu season and school vaccination: time to catch up


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