WEATHER ALERT

Vaccination news ‘sigh of relief’ for parents of high-risk children: doctor

Advertisement

Advertise with us

Less than 24 hours after Manitoba announced a prioritized COVID-19 vaccine rollout for high-risk babies and toddlers, paediatricians were fielding calls from families anxiously awaiting immunization for their vulnerable little ones.

Read this article for free:

or

Already have an account? Log in here »

To continue reading, please subscribe with this special offer:

All-Access Digital Subscription

$4.75 per week*

  • Enjoy unlimited reading on winnipegfreepress.com
  • Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
  • Access News Break, our award-winning app
  • Play interactive puzzles
Continue

*Pay $19.00 every four weeks. GST will be added to each payment. Subscription can be cancelled anytime.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/07/2022 (195 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Less than 24 hours after Manitoba announced a prioritized COVID-19 vaccine rollout for high-risk babies and toddlers, paediatricians were fielding calls from families anxiously awaiting immunization for their vulnerable little ones.

Dr. Ruth Grimes’ patients include toddlers with cystic fibrosis and a genetic neurodevelopmental condition — they’ll be among the first in line to receive a pediatric Moderna vaccine.

“I can only speak to the two conversations I had yesterday, but it was an absolute sigh of relief (for parents) that their high-risk children were actually now going to be able to get this vaccination. I think it really does take a layer of anxiety and stress off their shoulders,” the Winnipeg doctor and past-president of the Canadian Paediatric Society said Thursday.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Dr. Ruth Grimes, a primary care and consultative pediatrician, has patients that include toddlers with cystic fibrosis and a genetic neurodevelopmental condition who will be among the first in line to receive a pediatric Moderna vaccine.

Pediatricians were consulted prior to Manitoba’s decision to prioritize babies and toddlers with chronic diseases, developmental conditions and complications from premature birth for appointments until more pediatric vaccine doses are available, Grimes said.

“I think that parents who recognize their children have particular medical risk are very invested and very pleased to get this vaccine,” she added.

For now, Manitoba is limiting appointments for children under five years old to those who have serious medical conditions and are otherwise immunocompromised. Parents of high-risk children ages six months to four years can start booking appointments at their doctors’ offices and vaccine sites Monday.

There’s no word yet on when every child under five will be able to access the COVID-19 vaccine. There are only 15,000 doses in the initial shipment and an estimated 77,000 children in that age range are deemed high-risk, chief provincial medical health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Wednesday.

While her three-year-old daughter is not yet eligible, Ellen Bees of Winnipeg said after waiting this long for an approved pediatric vaccine, she’s happy to see immunocompromised children being put first.

“I think it’s important that people with more severe health issues get it first. More vulnerable kids need it first, so I’m OK waiting,” Bees said. “Once she is eligible, I’m going to be super excited about that. It’s just good to know that it’s coming soon. It’s been a very long wait.”

Bees’ daughter has been going to daycare, and it’s been stressful sending her knowing her age group wasn’t able to be vaccinated, she said. Having some certainty about the pediatric vaccine rollout now has helped, Bees added.

However, based on slower uptake among five- to 12-year-olds, it’s uncertain how quickly parents of babies and preschoolers will want to book appointments, Grimes said.

Only about half of children five to 12 have had the shot. They’ve been eligible since late November.

The new Moderna vaccine approved for children younger than five uses a lower dosage and the risk of adverse reaction is even lower than in older children and teens, Grimes said.

The doctor said she is confident the vaccine is safe, and acknowledged it’s important physicians are upfront with patients about any risk and make clear what information is available and what is not yet known. The prevalence of long COVID in children, and how susceptible they are to other illnesses after being infected with COVID-19, is still being studied.

“Pediatricians have confidence in this vaccine, and we would like to see children be vaccinated,” Grimes said. “I don’t think we’ve fully established or answered what the long-term impacts of COVID infection are in children, so we’re looking at long COVID symptoms. I’ve had a few patients, I know many of my other colleagues have, and it’s as disruptive and sometimes devastating for the families as long COVID symptoms are in adults.”

Regardless of their stance on the vaccine, Grimes encouraged parents to talk to their pediatricians and family doctors to go over any concerns and make an informed decision.

katie.may@freepress.mb.ca

Katie May

Katie May
Reporter

Katie May is a general-assignment reporter for the Free Press.

Report Error Submit a Tip

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Local

LOAD MORE