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Virtual information session on pediatric COVID vaccine set for Thursday

Parents and guardians are encouraged to join, Thursday night, to help clarify lingering questions and/or uncertainties
20211129 child vaccine
VillageMedia file photo

Waterloo Region is hosting a virtual vaccine information session on Zoom Thursday night.

Dr. Kelly Grindrod, Associate Professor from the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy, will lead the session, and answers questions from parents regarding youth vaccinations.

"It's there to help people who aren't sure what decision to make," Dr. Grindrod told Kitchener Today with Brian Bourke on CityNews 570. "Have some more information, so they feel better about whatever choice they're making."

She said it's completely normal for parents to have questions about COVID-19 and the vaccine for children aged 5 to 11. 

"We get these questions about tetanus boosters, and MMR [measles, mumps, and rubella] vaccines," she added. "I get questions like this about ear infections, and what I think about the antibiotic."

Dr. Grindrod said the main question she receives from most parents is - Is COVID really that bad for children, do we need to vaccinate them? While the majority of children, who get infected with COVID19, see mild symptoms, she said that's not the case for all kids.

"Healthy kids can get very serious COVID, even end up in the hospital with a severe cough and breathing problems," she said. "Kids who have certain health conditions like asthma or diabetes, it can be even higher risk for them, as well as kids with disabilities."

Two things to be aware of with COVID-19 infection in kids are long COVID symptoms, and a rare condition called MIS-C. 

Dr. Grindrod said long COVID are symptoms that persist for three or more months, such as fatigue, shortness of breath, or difficulty concentrating. MIS-C. [Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children] is a rare, but serious reaction, that causes inflammation in several organ systems and can cause significant, long term complications.

"All of the kids who get it need hospital care," she added. "It is rare, there have been under 300 cases between March 2020 and May 2021, those are the numbers we see from Public Health Agency of Canada ... but these are things we're trying to prevent when we're vaccinating children."

Dr. Grindrod said the most common vaccine side effect for children is a sore arm. The lower dosage (10 micrograms) is preventing some of the flu-like symptoms that many adults experienced.

"The one we're really keeping an eye on is myocarditis," she said. "It showed up in some teens, it peaks at about age 16-17 in boys. Part of choosing the lower dose for children aged 5 to 11 was to hopefully avoid myocarditis."

Dr. Grindrod said, so far, they're not seeing myocarditis in the United States, after four million doses given to children.

More details on Thursday's information session can be found here.

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