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COVID-19

Parents more hesitant to vaccinate kids than themselves, researcher says

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OTTAWA — Jennifer Hubert jumped at the opportunity to get her COVID-19 vaccine, but she’s not looking forward to having to make the decision about whether to vaccinate her three-year-old son Jackson.

She recognizes the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, but said she also understands her son is at a much lower risk for serious illness than older adults.

“To me it’s not a clear benefit,” she said.

While many parents were overjoyed at the news that Health Canada is considering approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine for kids age five to 11 in Canada, parents like Hubert are feeling more trepidatious, and public health officials said they are going to have a much more nuanced conversation with parents about vaccination than they did with adults.

While 82 per cent of eligible Canadians aged 12 and up are already fully vaccinated, a recent survey by Angus Reid shows only 51 per cent of parents plan to immediately vaccinate their kids when a pediatric dose becomes available.

Of parents with children in the five to 11 year age range, 23 per cent said they would never give their kids a COVID-19 vaccine, 18 per cent said they would wait, and nine per cent said they weren’t sure, according to the survey of 5,011 Canadians between Sept. 29 and Oct. 3, which cannot be assigned a margin of error because online surveys are not considered random samples.

“Most of the research that I’ve seen sort of indicates that parents are more hesitant to vaccinate their kids against COVID than themselves,” said Kate Allen, a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Vaccine Preventable Diseases of the University of Toronto.

There are several reasons parents might pause, she said.

It’s true that children are at a much lower risk of serious outcomes associated with COVID-19, and there have been very rare incidents of mRNA vaccines like Pfizer or Moderna linked to cases of myocarditis, a swelling of the heart muscle.

As of Oct. 1, Health Canada has documented 859 cases associated with the vaccines, which mainly seem to affect people under 40 years old, and people who’ve developed the complication have typically been fine.

“I know it’s rare, I know it’s not deadly, but I also see the risk of severe symptoms from COVID as being rare and not deadly for Jackson,” Hubert said when asked about weighing up the risks and benefits of the vaccine.

But public health experts stress that some children do suffer from rare but serious impacts from COVID-19, which can also cause myocarditis as well as the little-understood impacts of the condition known as long COVID.

They say parents should consider the less tangible benefits of vaccination as well.

“It’s less of a conversation about a direct benefit to them, and more of a community benefit,” Allen said.

The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on children, depriving them of school, time with their peers, extracurriculars — and their mental health has suffered as a result, said Dr. Vinita Dubey, associate medical officer of health with Toronto Public Health.

“Not one child has been spared from this pandemic. I mean every single child has had to bear a sacrifice because of the pandemic in one way or the other,” Dubey said.

So far Pfizer-BioNtech is the only manufacturer to request approval for its pediatric COVID-19 vaccine and Health Canada is still reviewing the data.

The regulator has promised the review will be thorough, and the vaccine will only be approved for children if the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

Policy-makers know they’re going to have to take parents’ concerns seriously as well.

On a recent tour of the Childrens’ Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Dr. Anne Pham-Huy, a pediatric infectious diseases physician.

“Vaccine confidence is going to be the most important part of it this time around,” Pham-Huy said, to which Trudeau agreed.

Dubey has published research on improving parents’ vaccine confidence when it comes to long-established inoculations like mumps and rubella.

While she offered several tips, they mainly come down to building trust. Her research focused on the role of family doctors, but she said during the pandemic anyone can be that trusted sounding board.

“It could be a faith leader, it could be an important family member or friend, someone who you trust, to help guide you to the right sources to make that decision,” she said.

With that in mind, several students from across North America launched a peer-to-peer education program called Students for Herd Immunity to allow kids to have those conversations among themselves.

The public health experts agree, the debate around vaccines has become polarized and open conversations will be the key to addressing parents’ concerns.

“I think one thing to say to parents is you don’t have to make your decision right away,” Dubey said. “I mean for those who are ready to make their decision, but it’s fine but if you have questions, seek the answers.”

Her only advice is to get those answers from a trusted source, and not social media.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2021.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Fully vaccinated with negative tests in hand, Calgary mom and daughters forced into quarantine on return to Canada

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This article consists of the facebook posts of Calgary mother Tiffany Gaura.  Tiffany and her two daughters happened to be travelling home from a visit with her husband who is working in Cairo, when the Canadian government announced strict travel restrictions against those traveling from ‘some’ countries where the new Omicron virus has been found.  Gaura has given us permission to use her posts in this article and has filled in a few small gaps for us.  She’s hoping Canadian officials will show more flexibility, especially considering they’ve established restrictions on travellers coming from only a select few of the countries where Omicron has turned up.  Gaura is especially frustrated since Omicron is already in Canada and travellers from Europe and the United States are not quarantined on arrival. 

Day 1 –  Dec 4, 6:37 PM – Shock and Awe

This is a tough post for me. Today we traveled back to Canada from Cairo. We came early to complete the new quarantine requirement given Egypt has been listed as a “Country of Concern”. I am FULLY VACCINATED. We had PCR tests in Cairo and Frankfurt. We have an empty home to go to here in Calgary.
Upon arrival in YYC, we were taken by CBSA (Canadian Border Services) to PHAC (Public Health Canada) screening. It was a 15 minute interrogation about my history with Covid (none), my plans in Canada and my testing and vaccination. They read me my rights and told me I was entitled to a lawyer. They told me the fine for breaking quarantine is up to $750,000. We had a dedicated escort throughout, ensuring we weren’t escaping. Secondary unexplained screening at customs, and a PCR on arrival. We weren’t allowed to make any stops or get anything to eat or drink. The whole process took about 2 hours.
We were transported in a dedicated vehicle to the Westin Airport Hotel in Calgary. The Government of Canada as contracted the entire hotel as a “secure quarantine location”. The parking lot is blocked with No Trespassing signs. We were met by the Red Cross of Canada employees in HazMat suits.
We were processed and taken to an isolation floor. We cannot go outside. We cannot leave our room. We cannot get deliveries or packages. We cannot consume anything from offsite. We only get the meals they send us (it’s now 6:30pm and we have not had anything to eat or drink since we landed at 3pm). They have no cups for water in the room. I requested some but to no avail. Once we get our test results (presumably negative, and can take up to 72 hours) we must contact the Red Cross who will coordinate with Quarantine Officers for our release, that can take 48 hours (they say). They will provide us dedicated transport to our quarantine location (our home) where we must complete our 14 days in isolation. We must also take another test on Day 8.
This is happening, right now, in Canada, two years into a pandemic to vaccinated individuals. I don’t have the words to express this well. I waver back and forth between rage, embarrassment and disbelief. This will change my life, I have no doubt.

Day 2 – Dec 5, 11:17 AM = Frustration sets in

Next time you think about making a donation to the Canadian Red Cross, keep in mind that your donation dollars are going to things like supervising fully vaccinated travellers in mandatory government quarantine facilities. I’m sure there are other organizations that could use your money.

Day 3.- Dec 6. 11:22 AM = Canadian Quarantine for Fully Vaccinated Travelers With Negative Covid Tests

– We still have no PCR results, because apparently in Canada it takes 72 hours to get results in 2021. Or maybe they just want us to stay here longer. 🤔
– The food is horrible. It arrives cold and has limited nutritional value. It’s not FoodSafe for sure. I may call public health.
– No fruits or vegetables (aside from potatoes). No beverages are offered, so it’s tap water for the win. No wait, I did get some coffee filters and packaged creamer. It’s gross.
– The hotel gives a number for people to call so they can speak to us BUT they won’t actually put any calls through to our room. When you call they just say they will pass the message on to the Red Cross who will send us the message
– The kids are going stir crazy. No fresh air, no physical activity. We are doing yoga and school work, I brought a few card games, but that can only fill so many hours of the day with no space or freedom to roam.
– We have only one bed in the hotel room so we all sleep together.
– I asked for tampons, it took 24 hours to receive them.
– We have a window to nothing. Can’t see the parking lot or any coming and goings from the site. I wonder if they give rooms that have a view to that.
This interview was conducted by the CBC while Tiffany and her children were still in quarantine. 

Day 4 – Dec 7 – Third Negative Test Results Finally Come After More Than 3 Days.

4 days in quarantine.   We left when we got our results. I made a choice to leave after I was unable to contact anyone at either PHAC or the Red Cross who could give us any information about being released by a quarantine office.

This interview was conducted by the CTV in the hours after Tiffany and her children returned home after 4 days in quarantine.

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COVID-19

Ivermectin and Molnupiravir: How does the widely used drug compare to the new drug in treating Covid-19

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John Campbell has been making videos to teach common people about the world of medicine for over 20 years.  After a career of teaching nurses, Campbell discovered a real need for medical information described in a way most anyone can understand.  In the nearly two years that John Campbell has been making videos explaining information about covid his viewership has exploded, commonly reaching hundreds of thousands and even millions of views.  People around the world have expressed a thirst for knowledge about the latest information around covid from a trusted source.

You can see a list of John Campbell’s videos here.

A number of weeks ago, John Campbell released this presentation.  It’s a comparison of a drug that has been widely used but also widely criticized in treating covid around the world, with a new drug which is expected to soon gain widespread approval.  Despite the success of Ivermectin, an inexplicable wave of opposition has resulted in a miserable failure by public health and politicians to adopt this extremely safe and effective treatment.  While that’s extremely frustrating, it does appear Molnupiravir is on the fast track to approval.  Molnupiravir may be slightly less effective and astronomically more expensive than Ivermectin, it should be effective enough to reduce the fear surrounding the virus that has killed so many. With the reduction of fear citizens should be able to expect restrictions around masks, and movement, and businesses to become voluntary.  A successful treatment should also allow governments to back off mandates around vaccinations in favour of a voluntary approach.  Could the end of the divisive restrictions finally be on the horizon?  This video contains some of the most exciting and promising news to come since the beginning of our covid disaster.

Here’s a look at Ivermectin compared with Molnupiravir.  Hopefully our public health officials and political decision makers are paying attention.

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