“I hope we will see a decrease in the number of infections, a decrease in the number of communicable diseases in children,” says Dr Rania Hiram
Vaccinating young children against COVID-19 will be crucial, says a pediatrician in Barrie.
The vaccine is not yet available for children under 12, but Health Canada approval is expected at the end of the year.
In Simcoe-Muskoka, children under 12 accounted for 31% of local cases during the week of October 3, the health unit reported this week.
âI think this is certainly crucial both for the safety of our children but also for herd immunity,â said Dr. Rania Hiram, who practices on Quarry Ridge Road and is the former chief of pediatrics. at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Center (RVH). âThis virus is probably not going to go away. “
Children represent a large part of the population and remain vulnerable not only to acquiring COVID-19, but also to its transmission to others. Hiram says that until they are vaccinated, it will be difficult for life to return to any semblance of normalcy.
Children have fairly robust immune systems, she added, and many exhibit typical viral cold symptoms, such as a cough or runny nose, when infected with COVID-19. Hiram says there are some rare complications and that she has seen a serious pediatric case, although the last case she saw was in February.
Data from the United States, where children receive one-third of the adult dose of COVID-19 vaccine, shows an immune response of nearly 100% with even fewer side effects from the teenage population, this which shows that she is safe, says Hiram.
“It will also prevent infection and spread, which is very important,” she said, adding that the vaccine can inhibit the virus and prevent its spread. “I hope we will see a decrease in the number of infections, a decrease in the number of communicable diseases in children.”
It is estimated that at least 90% of the population must be fully vaccinated to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19. As of October 2, 81% of the eligible population was fully immune to COVID-19, representing 71% of the total population.
Meanwhile, efforts are underway to test COVID-19 vaccines in children under five.
Hiram says the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children has partnered with Moderna to conduct a trial on children aged six months to five years. Recruitment is underway to vaccinate 3,000 patients.
This process of conducting the trial, including recruiting a good patient population, administering the vaccine at regular intervals, and time for immunity to develop as well as risks and side effects could take six months through to an expedited process, she added.
Regarding eligible age groups, Hiram says Ontario’s vaccine proof requirement has helped encourage all eligible age groups to research the COVID-19 vaccine, including adolescents.
There were concerns about people aged 12 to 18 with heart inflammation, but Hiram said it was found to be quite rare and was mild, usually not requiring hospitalization and much less severe than the myocarditis which could result in people infected with COVID-19.