Small but mighty: Vaccinated Canadian children could see rates rise by nearly 7% – National

Children across Canada have begun receiving their first shots of the COVID-19 vaccine, and experts say this could be a big help in Canada’s fight against the pandemic.

“The difference will be huge. Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, said the impact would be huge.

Health Canada approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 years old on November 19, and the first children’s doses arrived in Canada a few days later. Some provinces have started to implement vaccination.

Children in this age group make up about 8% of Canada’s population, according to demographic data from Statistics Canada, although the number of children in each province varies.

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Children’s COVID-19 Vaccine – What Canadian Parents Should Know

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Currently, about 78% of all Canadians have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Assuming that young children are vaccinated at the same rate as your 12-17 year olds – 87% of whom have received at least one dose – vaccinating this age group would bring Canada’s overall vaccination rate up. almost 85%.

“It’s a huge drop in the total number of uninsured people,” said Caroline Colijn, professor of mathematics and the Canada 150 Research Chair at Simon Fraser University who works with the BC COVID-19 Modeling Group. guard.

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Colijn says accurately predicting the impact of a few percentage points more in vaccine coverage is complicated. Epidemiologists have to take into account current crops, understand how children interact and how they transmit diseases to others, which has changed dramatically over the course of the pandemic, she noted.

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With the data they had, in BC, it would reduce the current slight drop in cases, Colijn said. In other provinces, she thinks vaccinating children will reduce the number of vaccinations or at least slow them down.

“Based on the model we have, it will probably cause transmission degradation,” she said.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year olds offers 'hope' and 'optimism,' Manitoba health official says

Manitoba health official says COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year olds offers ‘hope’ and ‘optimism’

Manitoba health official says COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year olds offers ‘hope’ and ‘optimism’

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According to Colijn, vaccinating children not only protects them from potentially serious illnesses caused by COVID-19, like childhood multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) and other complications. It also helps prevent them from spreading the disease to others.

“We are going to see a significant indirect effect that directly benefits older adults, hospitalizations, ICUs, because all of that is ultimately driven by circumstances,” she said. treat”.

“And if we do reduce those infections, it’s older people who may have never been exposed, who might be in some chain of transmission that we’re stopping with vaccinations.” immunization for children.”

Read more:

Local officials say children in Toronto are first in Canada to get children’s COVID-19 vaccine

Furness notes that many childhood infections have no symptoms and are only found in experimental classrooms. However, he said, infected children who have no symptoms can still pass the virus on to their friends and family.

“An infected family can infect an entire neighborhood based on the mixing that occurs in the school,” he said.

This is why Furness believes vaccinating school-age children can make such a big difference in Canada.

“Primary and primary school children are the last major biome for COVID,” he said.

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Children under the age of 19 accounted for more than a third of new cases reported during the second week of November, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Click to play video: 'Children and COVID-19'

Kids and COVID-19

Kids and COVID-19

“School is a great relationship or this large gathering is difficult to manage, very difficult to control, and acts as a superhighway for the transmission of infections,” says Furness.

While he doesn’t expect to see too much of an impact from childhood vaccinations until around February, he thinks that if the campaign starts aggressively now, it’s possible Canada could avoid the number of cases. increase as Europe is currently experiencing.

“If you look at what’s happening in Europe right now, that’s our future,” he said. “If we don’t vaccinate, that’s our future.”

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