The number of children under five receiving the vaccine against COVID-19 in Ontario is lower than the relatively low number many experts had expected.

The tablets have been available for the youngest age group for two months, but only six percent of these children have received the first dose.

Dr. Karen Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said that’s lower than the numbers she thought she’d see up to this point.

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“I definitely want more families to consider vaccinating their children six months to four years old,” he said in an interview, “especially children who are at high risk.”

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“We know that we have more than five percent of children with underlying medical conditions that may predispose them to worse outcomes associated with Covid and would absolutely encourage these parents to take care of your health. Consider discussing with the provider. Risks and Benefits.”

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Royat Devanandan, an epidemiologist and associate professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa, said there are many factors that likely account for the low doses used, but he had expected higher numbers until now. shall be.

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

Devanandan said, who also pointed to misinformation about vaccine side effects, with many people believing the false narrative that the pandemic is over and that children don’t get sick when they contract COVID-19. are

Devanandan said the way messages about vaccine safety and efficacy are delivered to parents is important.

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“It should be understood as, ‘Parents, this is your decision and I want to give you all the transparent information I can so you can make a good choice here,'” he said. .

“It’s a delicate balancing act here that we have to do when we talk about this. You don’t want to come across as forcing a foreign object into your child’s body, as we see the population doing. It’s very sensitive to kind of the narrative. We don’t want to try to force the world to go into lockdown again out of fear. But at the same time, you just want to advocate for the overall health of the kids.

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The City of Toronto pulled a series of videos about COVID-19 vaccinations for children this week after one implied child couldn’t go out to play with friends if they weren’t vaccinated.

“This video misses the mark on this message and should not have been posted,” spokesman Brad Ross wrote in a statement.

“A series of five videos directed at parents and caregivers about childhood vaccines has been put on hold while each one is reviewed to ensure the messages are clear and unambiguous: Children Vaccines are available for and are safe.”

Pediatricians are the ones parents should listen to now, Devanandan said.

No one trusts epidemiologists anymore, he said. They no longer trust government doctors. No one trusts virologists anymore. They only trust their child’s pediatrician, and those are the people who should have this conversation.

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Moore said the province is hearing from parents that face-to-face communication is the most effective form of communication.

“When you see your primary care provider, your pediatrician, you’re getting standard immunizations at two months, four months, six months, 12, 15, 18 months — all for families. There are opportunities to ask questions about COVID. Vaccinations,” he said.

“We have work to do to continue our (official) message. It will accelerate as we move indoors and into the fall because we think the risk of transmission will increase.

Dr. Paul Romeliots, medical officer of health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, said he expects vaccinations for young children to pick up during the fall, as he expects to reach about 25 to 30 per cent overall. Who was

He attributed the slow start to the rollout, which began over the summer, to misinformation circulating about the vaccine, as well as general reluctance by parents when it comes to children this age.


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“I’m a pediatrician, I know that parents are always hesitant — especially for toddlers and babies — whether it’s vaccinations, or any medicine that comes out,” he said.

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“One message we need to convey to people is that although this vaccine is not as effective as we would like for human-to-human transmission, it is certainly effective against severe disease and its complications. Very effective.”

There’s also an element of complacency, said Dr. Anna Banerjee, a pediatrician, infectious disease specialist and associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

“(People think), ‘Oh, Covid isn’t that bad. It’s just a cold in little kids, I don’t really have to worry about it,'” she said.

“I think, there’s a lot of denial that kids, especially young kids, can get it and get very, very sick from it.”

In its latest report, Public Health Ontario said there was a significant increase in hospitalizations for children under the age of one, with 17 children hospitalized during the week of Sept. 4 to Sept. 10, compared to the previous eight weeks. I. Since the start of the pandemic, 1,268 children of this age have been hospitalized for COVID-19 — far more than older children and adolescents.

Banerjee said children have a pretty good chance of catching COVID-19 now that schools are back in session, and it’s not just the immediate and potential long-term effects on young children that parents should keep in mind. .

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“(They) can spread it to other kids, spread it in the house, spread it to grandparents,” she said.

“It’s something that can significantly affect someone’s life. And so I would do what you can to reduce the risk of transmission, which is really vaccination.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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