Kids COVID-19 vaccination ‘complex’ decision for parents, study shows

To get the COVID-19 vaccine or not? It was a challenging and polarizing decision for Canadian parents during the coronavirus pandemic.

the study The article, published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), highlights the concerns parents have and what they should consider when deciding whether to vaccinate their children against COVID-19. increase.

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“Parents’ experiences making decisions about SARS-CoV-2 vaccination of their children were mixed, even for those who supported SARS-CoV-2 vaccination,” said the study.

Researchers at the University of Toronto surveyed 20 parents in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ontario, from February to April 2022.

They found that there were four main factors that parents looked at for children ranging from 5 to 18 years old: novelty of the COVID-19 vaccine, politicization, social pressure, and individual vs. collective is the profit of

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“Vaccine decision-making is really complicated at the best of times, but with new vaccines like this it gets even more complicated,” said co-author of the study and research scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital. Dr. Janet Parsons said: Part of Unity Health Toronto.

Parsons said parents have additional responsibilities when making such important medical decisions for their children and not for themselves.

“It was not a decision they made lightly. They thought very carefully about their decision to vaccinate their children,” she told Global News.

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Children aged 6 months are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Canada. However, vaccination coverage among the youngest population remains low.

Nearly 5% of children aged 0-4 completed their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, compared to just over 40% of children aged 5-11. According to Health Canada’s latest data as of January 29.

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Concerns about the novelty of the COVID-19 vaccine developed in record time are perhaps why some parents are taking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach to vaccinating their children, Parsons said. said.

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“It’s very new, it’s kind of scary… it’s kind of like a guinea pig,” one parent said in the study.

Another said they would feel more comfortable if the vaccine existed longer and was studied in more people.

Finding evidence and credible sources about the shots was also a challenge, according to interviewed parents.

“It was hard for people to sift through everything they were hearing…” she added.

political and social factors

Politics is another concern, according to the survey, with many parents saying that COVID-19 vaccine guidance appears to support a political agenda rather than being backed by science. increase.

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“I am very uncomfortable with politicians selling vaccines on TV and social media…if the government had avoided it, maybe we would have. [gotten vaccinated]said one parent.

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Others, meanwhile, said they trusted the government’s involvement in public health guidance and vaccination campaigns.

In an influx of information and advancing research, most of the parents surveyed turned to their health care providers to unravel the vaccine evidence and inform their decision-making, Parsons said.

Families also faced societal pressure to get their children vaccinated for fear of being labeled “anti-vaccine,” the study suggests.

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Children have been largely unaffected by COVID-19 since the pandemic began, but they are not immune.

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Most children and adolescents infected with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms, but some may require hospitalization or experience long-term effects. According to Health Canada.

“Vaccines can help reduce a child’s risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19,” the agency said on its website.

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A CMAJ study found that parents weighed group-wide and individual benefits when considering COVID-19 vaccination for their children, including protecting others, herd immunity, and curbing the spread. .

After strict lockdowns and restrictions, “a big motivator for many parents” was the social dimension to allow children to resume normal activities.

For parents still unsure about the COVID-19 vaccine, she encouraged them to talk to their primary care provider, telling them it’s okay to ask questions and worry.

This study suggests that future COVID-19 messages should focus on both the individual and collective benefits of vaccines for children, and health care providers will be prioritized when providing this information to families. should.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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