Pediatrician urges parents to discuss COVID with their health care provider – The Golden Star


A pediatrician who has researched COVID-19 vaccine reluctance among parents in Canada, the United States and Israel is urging those concerned about getting their children vaccinated to speak to a health care provider as the Omicron variant is pushing cases to record levels.

Dr Ran Goldman, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia, said the current national immunization rate for children aged five to 11 is too low, so parents who have questions about the safety of the vaccine should respond. a personal connection with a pediatrician, family doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

“If these health care providers listen first and understand what is at the root of the reluctance, and exactly what questions parents are asking, then they can answer them with their knowledge and expertise. That’s the key and the magic, the green card, in getting parents to understand and accept vaccines, ”said Goldman, who practices in Vancouver.

Goldman said past campaigns involving pediatric vaccines have shown conversations with healthcare providers to be meaningful and helped change the minds of hesitant parents.

Data from Health Canada shows that 39% of children aged five to 11 received a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which the agency approved for this age group last November.

“It’s not enough,” Goldman said. “I know we are failing our children in terms of immunization rates. It is not only for the children who receive them, it is to protect the whole environment around them, including their parents, their grandparents, sick or in good health, who need to go to work.

British Columbia has the national immunization rate of 39 percent, as does New Brunswick, while the lowest rates are in Alberta and the Yukon at 37 percent, according to government data from those jurisdictions.

In Ontario, nearly 45 percent of children under 11 received their first dose, while the highest vaccination rate, at 67 percent, is in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Adrian Dix, the Minister of Health for British Columbia, has encouraged more parents to register their children for a vaccine.

“It will make the children safe and of course your family as well,” he said.

Goldman said parents should know that the consequences of infection are much greater than the possible side effects.

He is the lead author of a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health last October on parents’ willingness to have their children vaccinated against COVID-19.

The research involved a pair of surveys of a total of 2,800 parents in 12 emergency departments in the United States, Israel and Canada. Most of the parents, 54 percent, were from Canada and were interviewed in Vancouver, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Calgary.

The first survey, carried out during the peak of the pandemic between March and May 2020, showed that nearly 65% ​​of parents said they would have their children under 12 immunized.

These results were compared to a second survey between December 2020 and March 2021, after the approval of an adult vaccine.

However, less than 60 percent of parents said they would be ready to have their children immunized.

“We were surprised,” Goldman said, adding that some parents thought getting the vaccine themselves was fine, but too risky for their children.

“We have to work with parents to understand the importance and safety of vaccines for children in particular,” he said.

Michelle McGrath of Langley, British Columbia, said she registered her five-year-old son, Isaiah, for a vaccine as soon as it was approved for use in children.

“It is the most studied part of medicine and the strictest safety standards,” she said of vaccines.

“For the people who say we don’t know the long-term impact of the vaccine, we also don’t know the long-term impacts of contracting this virus,” she said.

McGrath said she was also concerned about the effect COVID-19 could have on her vulnerable 11-month-old twins, who were born three months prematurely and need to be taken to regular medical appointments, where they could. be exposed to the virus.

Goldman said about 90 percent of children will not be infected after receiving the vaccine, which uses one-third of the dose formulated for older children and adults.

“Catching the disease and maybe having a long COVID is much riskier than any kind of hypothetical potential side effects. “

Parents who think the vaccine was developed too quickly should know that mRNA vaccine technology has been around for almost 20 years, he said.

“We know the technology works and is actually safer than many other vaccine technologies. The flu vaccine is safe in about 50% of people, and the COVID vaccine is effective in about 90% of people. “

—Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus


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