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Mixed opinions around children’s COVID-19 vaccination

AHS response to high percentage of Lakers hesitant to comply

With the COVID-19 vaccine now available for kids between ages five and 11, about six in 10 Sylvan Lake parents say they do not intend on rolling up sleeves to get the younger ones vaccinated, according to a Sylvan Lake News poll conducted last month.

Just about 28 per cent of the 274 voters participating in the poll showed enthusiasm about vaccinating their children against the virus. However, despite the ongoing messaging by Alberta Health Services (AHS), the majority of Sylvan Lake parents seem uninterested.

“Vaccines undergo a rigorous review by Health Canada to make sure they are safe and they work before they are approved and made available to Canadians. Health Canada has done a rigorous review of the Pfizer/Comirnaty vaccine and has approved it as safe and effective for use in children ages five to 11,” said Lisa Glover, assistant director for AHS.

In a survey conducted following the poll, parents shared their thoughts around children’s COVID-19 vaccination. While few showed trust in the immunization, most shared concerns around misinformation.

“The known and unknown benefits of vaccinating our children do not outweigh the known and unknown risks of vaccinating them,” shared a survey responder.

“There is two years of data that kids are not harmed by this virus. There is no need to vaccinate them,” another added.

“There are thousands of doctors around the world against this vaccination, not only because it does not prevent spread, but also causes major adverse reactions in some … in fact thousands of adverse reactions and deaths have been reported,” said a respondant.

A Laker shared concerns around alleged heart inflammation as a result of the vaccine.

“The fact that they have to add something in it to prevent heart inflammation should tell you all you need to know.”

The survey also received positive responses from locals showing interest in the COVID-19 vaccine for children.

“Our children are fully vaccinated. Reason: Protecting the health of our children, our family and our community,” shared a response.

“My children are vaccinated because we love them, and it’s the responsible thing to do for them and society,” another added.

While the poll suggests 65.69 per cent of parents disinclined towards the vaccine, about six per cent showed indecisiveness due to lack of proof or trustworthy information.

“I will vaccinate later. I have to see with my own eyes how other children handle the vaccine. I’ve lost trust in the government and news for giving false information, so I have to observe with my own eyes and collect my own data before I make my final decision,” shared a respondant.

In response to findings of the poll and concerns shared by locals, Glover said, “The risk of myocarditis from general viral infections is higher in adolescents than younger children, so the risk of vaccine-related myocarditis may also be lower in five to 11-year-olds.

“Heart inflammation from infection with COVID-19 is far more likely than heart issues stemming from vaccination. Youth are 80 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than from an adverse event following vaccination,” she said.

“No safety concerns were identified during the clinical trials of the vaccine. Reported side effects from the clinical trials were mild, common (pain at injection site, muscle aches and pains, fatigue, mild fever) and went away after two to three days. During the clinical trials of the vaccine, fewer side effects were reported than with the trials for adults and youths – likely due to a lower dose of vaccine used for children ages five to 11.”

After millions of five to 11-year-olds formulation been given in the U.S. and Canada, no safety signals have been observed, said Glover.

AHS encourages parents and guardians to speak directly to a physician and seek reliable and factual information to base their decisions around getting immunized. Information on paediatric vaccines can be found at alberta.ca/vaccine and www.alberta.ca/covid19-vaccine-myths-and-facts.aspx. AHS also suggests parents and guardians access a recording of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and three other physicians answering questions about children and the COVID vaccine at Alberta.ca/Townhall.

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