COVID-19: Vaccination of children under 5 is low in Alberta

According to provincial data, 4.6% of children aged 6 months to 4 years received a first dose.

It’s a little disappointing, but not surprisingadmits pediatrician Sam Wong who is also president of the pediatrics section of the Alberta Medical Association.

According to Sam Wong, a number of factors may explain this low vaccination rate, including the timing.

Sam Wong works at Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.

Photo: Provided by Sam Wong

Children under the age of 5 became eligible for vaccination in early August when many families were on vacation or simply weren’t thinking about COVID-19.

I wonder if there will be greater demand as school starts, the weather begins to get cooler, and more children and adults get sick. I think it might change the dynamic of the situationhe believes.

Hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine could also contribute to its low popularity among children, the doctor said. In fact, he admits he doesn’t get many questions about the vaccine from parents these days.

I understand, it’s a matter of numbers. People will say the risk is low and they accept that risk. If your child happens to be the one in a thousand who ends up in intensive care, are you ready to take that gamble? I would definitely like my child to be vaccinatedhe said.

Lack of communication

The risk of serious consequences for young children is low, but it is not zero, said Craig Jenne, associate professor in the department of microbiology, immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Calgary.

We have unfortunately had children hospitalized here in Alberta, even in intensive care, who were in this age grouphe recalls, adding that he wants to see a greater percentage of the population protected thanks to the vaccine.

We really want to use every tool we have to keep these youngest Albertans out of hospitalhe said.

Craig Jenne is outside.  Behind him we see trees.

Craig Jenne

Photo: Radio-Canada / Colin Hall

Craig Jenne expects COVID-19 cases to rise as the weather gets colder.

We have seen over the past two years that there has been a predictable spike in cases as people return indoorshe points out.

He therefore also urges parents to have their children vaccinated. In addition to early clinical trials, we’ve seen a lot of real-world data. We know these vaccines are safe and workunderlines the professor.

Craig Jenne is particularly concerned about the lack of communication from the province about vaccinations for all ages. He would like to see more public awareness campaigns in the coming weeks.

He gives as an example the fact that although an increase in the number of infections has been observed, the percentage of people hospitalized has dropped among those vaccinated. It wasn’t really reportedhe insists.

With files from Jennifer Lee

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