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Health & Fitness Covid jabs for children: Parents on whether they would allow vaccination

13:45  18 june  2021
13:45  18 june  2021 Source:   msn.com

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There has been much speculation over whether there will be a mass Covid immunisation programme in secondary schools after regulator the MHRA approved Pfizer’s use in 12- to 15-year-olds recently.

Earlier this week, chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said children may need to be vaccinated to ensure their education can continue without disruption.

Following his remarks, the head of the National Education Union, Britain’s biggest teaching union, urged for this to happen “as quickly as possible” so pupils can be fully vaccinated before returning to school in September.

However, Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, has since said she understood vaccination experts are not planning to recommend jabs for youngsters.

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A statement from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – the committee of UK vaccine experts which advises the Government – is expected in the coming days.

Some experts argue that the direct benefits of vaccination for children would be low given their low risk from Covid – and suggest it is unethical when more vulnerable people elsewhere in the world have not yet been jabbed.

Others say vaccinating pupils could help prevent outbreaks in schools – which burdens working parents and the economy – and would slow transmission in the community.

Young people are driving the rise in virus infections: teenagers have driven transmission in Delta variant hotspot Blackburn, and research out today by Imperial College London shows the highest prevalence is seen in those aged five-to-12 years and 18-to-24 years.

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We asked parents how they felt about their child having the jab, if it is recommended.

‘My kids would have the jab to protect their grandparents’

a little girl posing for a picture: Claire Beaumont would get her son Brooke, 11, and step-daughter Layla, 14, jabbed (Photo: Claire Beaumont) © Provided by The i Claire Beaumont would get her son Brooke, 11, and step-daughter Layla, 14, jabbed (Photo: Claire Beaumont)

Claire Beaumont is keen for her son Brooke, who is 12 in September, and step-daughter Layla, 14, to be jabbed.

“It’s not about protecting the kids, it’s about protecting both sets of grandparents,” said the 39-year-old mum who works in PR. “We’ve got friends who are isolating with conditions such as asthma and it would allow us to get back to normal.”

Brooke is set to start high school in September, and Claire is worried about him missing more classroom time. “I’m less worried about him missing education if there are more outbreaks,” she said. “It’s more about his interaction with friends. That’s what he’s missed the most. We have had more conversations about his screen time in the last year than ever before. I think being glued to gaming and the computer is harmful.”

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Claire, from Halifax in west Yorkshire, said she believes any risk of the vaccine would be outweighed by the benefits. “I’d rather he felt a bit rough for a day or two and didn’t catch Covid, and it means he is helping to protect his family.”

‘I don’t want my children jabbed until we know more’

Alan, who didn’t want his surname used, said that he would not allow his three children, aged nine, 12 and 14, to be vaccinated just yet.

“The risk of Covid to them is miniscule,” said the 46-year-old from Newcastle. “Many have no symptoms at all and they are rarely sick with it. The death rate is practically zero.”

He stressed that is not an anti-vaxxer. “My kids have all had their NHS recommended jabs. I’m more than happy to let them have a vaccine that has years and decades of research showing their safety and I accept when there are small risks.

“With the Covid jabs we don’t full know the medium or long-term effects. I accept this for myself and I have been double jabbed but when the benefits for children are almost non-existent I don’t accept that the unknown risks are worth it.

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“It could be fine but we just don’t know yet. Morally, you are talking about potentially risking your child’s health to save an adult.”

What do we know so far about safety of Covid jabs in youngsters?

Children and young people have a very low risk of suffering severe disease from Covid. Deaths are extremely rare – one in a million, according to Professor Calum Semple, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Mortalities in the UK have been in children with profound underlying and life-limiting conditions.

Prof Semple, from the University of Liverpool, said the concept of vaccinating children was “mainly to protect public health and reduce transmission”, which raised a morale debate about vaccinating children for the benefit of others.

He added: “It’s accepted that teenagers who are biologically more like adults are more likely to transmit. But younger children really are not – they are about a half to a third less likely to acquire the virus and similarly to pass it on.”

Prof Whitty said that vaccines are now being licenced in some countries and the Government is accruing data on the safety of these vaccines in children.

The MHRA’s approval of the Pfizer jab was based on early results from a Phase 3 trial in 2,200 adolescents in the US which showed it was safe and effective, but this is a small number. Further trials testing this vaccine in children aged between six months and 11 years are ongoing.

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Last month, Moderna became the second manufacturer to announce successful trial results, showing its vaccine can stop transmission in people aged 12 to 18. The company said there were no serious reactions. All those who took part will be monitored for the next 12 months to be sure there are no longer-term effects.

A senior government source told i: “Vaccines save lives. The Pfizer vaccine has been licensed for 12- to 15-year-olds by the MHRA and a number of countries will be vaccinating children in those age groups. Ministers have not received advice and no decisions have been taken.”

‘I trust what the medical community says’

a young man wearing a neck tie: Victoria Hayes says she wouldn’t hesitate to get her teenage son Sebastian vaccinated against Covid (Photo: Victoria Hayes) © Provided by The i Victoria Hayes says she wouldn’t hesitate to get her teenage son Sebastian vaccinated against Covid (Photo: Victoria Hayes)

Victoria Hayes says she wouldn’t hesitate to get her teenage son Sebastian vaccinated for two reasons – his own protection and to help reduce disruption to his education.

The 15-year-old was diagnosed with type one diabetes five years ago and she has worried about his vulnerability since the pandemic began.

Diabetes UK says that it is not aware of any children with diabetes who have died from coronavirus. “However, as with all people with diabetes, an illness like coronavirus can make it harder to manage your child’s diabetes and they still have a risk of DKA,” the charity states.

“I’ve lived in constant fear of something happening to him,” said the 37-year-old from Chester. “I check on him in his sleep. The Covid jab would be just one more necessary needle that would provide peace of mind.

“I trust what the medical community says. they are genuinely doing what they can to make the world a safer place.”

Sebastian wants to be a doctor and Victoria worries about how much education he could miss if variants like Delta continue to drive infection rates up. “He’s got his GCSEs next year and the pressure on him to do well is huge.

“Learning at home isn’t the same as in a classroom. There’s a lot of pressure on them to catch up and further disruption could be detrimental.”

Do you have a real life story? Email claudia.tanner@inews.co.uk

Avoid 10 days quarantine with two jabs .
Britons who have received both jabs would take a test every morning for one week if contacted by Test and Trace, and would be exempt from self-isolation for a 24-hour period after every negative test result.Britons who have received both jabs would be exempt from self-isolation for a 24-hour period after each negative test result. Tests would be required every morning for one week if a person is told by Test and Trace that they have been near someone with the infection.

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This is interesting!