An expert says health providers should be prepared to educate parents about the benefits of vaccinating their little ones against COVID-19.
Health Canada approved Moderna’s vaccine for babies and preschoolers today, making it the first jab available to children under age five.
The green light came as a relief to many parents who have been eager to inoculate their youngsters against the virus, but leaves others with questions about whether the shot is worth it.
A professor of family medicine and public health at the University of Toronto says COVID-19 tends to be mild in kids, but there are cases of severe illness, and vaccines provide significant protection against the risks of infection.
Dr. Jeff Kwong says there’s also no reason to believe that children are any more likely to suffer serious side effects from the shot, which have been very rare in adults.
Kwong says the relatively low COVID-19 vaccination rate among kids aged five to 11 — 56 per cent of the cohort has received at least one dose, compared to 85 per cent of the total population — may suggest that challenges lie ahead in promoting uptake among the youngest Canadians.
Kwong says trusted health providers, such as pediatricians, have an important role to play in relaying the facts about COVID-19 vaccination in young kids, but he worries these overstretched workers may lack the time and resources to walk parents through concerns.
“The risk-reward is it makes sense to get vaccinated in this age group,” Kwong said. “Hopefully, parents don’t just brush it off.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2022.
Feature image – A general view of the children’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Scotiabank Arena is shown in Toronto, on Sunday, December 12, 2021. An expert says health providers should be prepared to educate parents about the benefits of vaccinating their little ones against COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young.