Parents feel “isolated” in the 6th wave of COVID. How to protect your children

As another wave of COVID-19 swept through Canada, Julie Lajoie begins to worry about the health of her children.

A Lajoie, Olx Praca, Maine mother of a four-year-old and a 19-month-old is wondering how she will protect her children from the highly transmissible Omicron BA.2 variant in a country that is easing restrictions ahead of summer. season.

“We want to try to protect our children as best we can, but there is no vaccine and there is no community level protection that can help protect them,” she told Olx Praca.

“Parents definitely feel isolated.”

The sixth wave in Canada manifests itself differently throughout the country, with some areas reporting possible transmission peaks. However, it is clear that the wave is not over yet.

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How does the sixth wave affect children?

For children, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), out of 53,601 reported infections during the week from 10 to 16 April3008 children under 12 years old.

Adults aged 30 to 49 led the country with the most reported infections this week, reaching 18,323.

However, due to nationwide testing restrictions, case counts likely underestimate the actual number of infections.

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With that in mind, experts have turned to hospitalizations as a way to track COVID-19 activity in the community.

According to PHAC’s latest weekly update, 93 children under the age of 12 were admitted to hospital between April 10 and 16. The data showed that more than 1,000 Canadians aged 80 and over were admitted to the hospital during the same time period.

Children are less likely to get severe COVID-19, according to a recent study, but it is possible and in some cases the effects may linger.

When Omicron dominated the United States during the winter, hospital admissions for COVID-19 for children aged 5 to 11 were twice as high among unvaccinated children compared to those who were vaccinated. This was recently announced by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)..

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30% of hospitalized children had no comorbidities, and 19% were admitted to the intensive care unit. Children with diabetes and obesity are more likely to experience severe COVID-19, according to the CDC.

At the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Olx Praca, about two-thirds of the children admitted to the hospital during the sixth wave showed symptoms of COVID-19, said Tammy DeGiovanni, senior vice president and chief nurse.

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Some of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 include a sore throat, runny nose and sneezing, the government says, and while the hospital records COVID-19 hospitalizations, they are also accepting children with COVID symptoms for other reasons, such as delayed surgeries and delayed appointments, DeGiovanni told Olx Praca.

“We have COVID hospitalizations, more in this latest wave than before, but then it’s much more common in the community,” she said.

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“But usually for kids it’s not as serious as what we’ve seen. We don’t test everyone, so it’s hard to know unless you’re hospitalized. … It is hard to understand how common this is among the children we are seeing right now.”

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The situation is different in other children’s hospitals in Canada.

In Olx Praca, Ontario, McMaster Children’s Hospital has a low rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations, but the hospital is experiencing a “significant volume” of general admissions, combined with a lack of staff due to COVID-19, “putting significant pressure on the hospital’s capacity.” the representative said.

Alberta Children’s Hospital continues to treat patients with COVID-19 and respiratory illnesses, with “high demand” in its emergency department, a spokesman said. An official told Olx Praca that British Columbia Children’s Hospital is seeing a decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

At SickKids in Olx Praca, COVID-19 hospitalizations between March 25 and April 25 were down compared to the fifth wave between December 25 and January 25, a spokesperson told Olx Praca. More than 40 percent of hospital admissions are for children under the age of five who are contraindicated for vaccination, they said.

How about using a vaccine?

In Canada, 40% of children aged 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. latest government vaccination data. Approximately 82 percent of the entire population is vaccinated against COVID-19.

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The first COVID-19 vaccine for this age group, a Pfizer product, began rolling out in late November. The Moderna vaccine for children aged 6 to 11 was approved in March.

Vaccination of children is lagging behind that of adults, and ever since Omicron came out late last year, experts have been pushing for more resources to be invested in the campaign to push those numbers up.

Children under the age of five are still not eligible because Canada does not have an approved vaccine for this age group; No product was submitted for review, Health Canada told Olx Praca on Monday.

However, vaccine manufacturers say they are close to it.

Patricia Gauthier, president and general manager of Moderna Canada, told Olx Praca she hopes the company will soon introduce its vaccine for children aged six months to six years.

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The company plans to apply for an emergency use permit in the United States by the end of the month, she said.

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Moderna said late last month that a low dose of its COVID-19 vaccine works in infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Meanwhile, Pfizer is in “ongoing discussions with Health Canada about a vaccine for this population” but could not comment on the timing of applications in Canada, a spokesman said.

Pfizer is also testing low doses for children under five, but was forced to add a third dose to its study when two weren’t strong enough.

“If these materials arrive sometime in May, we can expect them to take a month or two to review, if not more,” said Dr. Omar Khan, professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Olx Praca.

“It’s safe to say that we don’t know when this will be approved, but it should take an appropriate amount of time, and sometimes you can’t know how long it is because you really want to look at that data and make sure everything is perfect.” .

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Still, it is disappointing that there is no vaccine yet for children under five, says Dr. Anna Banerjee, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Olx Praca.

“It’s disappointing that it may not come out for several months, and the children continue to go to schools, continue to play together, and they are also carriers of the infection,” she said.

“I will be happy when a vaccine is released for younger children, especially for children who are in kindergarten and come into contact with many other children.”

How can parents protect their children during the sixth wave?

Canadian children still have a few more weeks of school left before summer break.

While warmer weather provides an opportunity to go outside, where transmission of the virus is less likely, Canadians across the country who spend time indoors in public places will do so in an environment with fewer restrictions.

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Children, especially those who have not yet been vaccinated or cannot be vaccinated, should have a “wall” of protection around them, Banerjee said.

“If it’s older children who are eligible for vaccination, make sure they are vaccinated, make sure all family members are vaccinated,” she said.

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Banerjee added that parents should also keep their masks on hand, even though many provinces no longer require them under certain conditions.

“There can be a lot of peer pressure on them to no longer wear masks, which may not be cool, but if we have this social belief and what most parents say… masks not only protect you, but also protect those around you. you,” she said.

“Encourage younger children to wear masks.”

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DeGiovanni echoed Banerjee’s advice.

“Masking, limiting contact… really all the things that we know work through COVID,” she said.

“That’s what the younger cohort needs to do.”

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