By: Steve Bond
For the first time in the current pandemic, those under the age of 12 represented the highest number of new Covid-19 cases in Canada according to the Public Health Association of Canada (PHAC). While this group constitutes only 12 percent of the population, they represented 20 percent of new cases. This should not be an unexpected result when we look at the vaccination rates in other populations. As of the end of October, those over 60 had full vaccination rates greater than 90 percent and had the lowest rate of new infections. Those in the 18-39 cohort have vaccination rates below 80% and have the second-highest new case rate after the kids.
On November 2, 2021, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States approved the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine for those 5-11 and subsequently began vaccinating. Health Canada has given priority to the vaccine review and are expected to approve within the next few weeks. The pediatric dose will be one-third of the adult dose, or 10 micrograms, as children generally have stronger immune responses than adults. The dose is NOT weight dependant. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has not yet released recommendations for spacing or number of doses, but in the Pfizer trials it was two doses; 21 days apart.
Parents and children should be educated on Covid vaccines as well as the implications of a Covid infection. For example, parents have expressed concerns about myocarditis/pericarditis after vaccination. The rate in Ontario is 10.5 cases per million doses (0.0011%). The rate of myocarditis following covid infection was 1,456 per million (0.1456%). Since those unvaccinated are more likely to get Covid, the risk of not getting the shot is greater than the shot itself.
Others will question the long-term effects of vaccination. Long-term effects are not expected. mRNA vaccines have been studied in humans since 2013 with no long-term problems. Vaccine side effects usually occur immediately or up to 6 weeks after the shot. The mRNA in the shot only lasts in the body for 2-3 days and the spike protein for a couple of weeks
Covid infection can cause serious effects and even death in any child. 1-4% of kids infected have lasting symptoms. Covid-19 vaccines work to reduce the chance of kids getting sick and passing the virus. Take care of yourselves and your kids.