Child vaccination has become a whole new challenge in the era of COVID

Child vaccination has become a whole new challenge in the era of COVID

By Shachi Kurl, President

Being of a generation who grew up with The Simpsons, I can’t help but feel Helen Lovejoy is having a renaissance moment with her signature line, “Won’t someone please think of the children?”

While much COVID-19 discourse of late is focused on Quebec’s proposal to apply a tax to unvaccinated adults, public health officials are no doubt experiencing a far deeper disquiet regarding the slow uptake of vaccination among little ones aged five to 11. We should all think about this.

So much attention has focused on what is now the stubborn rump of vaccine-resistant grown-ups in this country. But make no mistake: while they disproportionately occupy hospital beds, they make up but a sliver of the overall adult population. They may be becoming louder and more recalcitrant, but according to Health Canada data, they represent only about 10 per cent of the adult population (higher among some age cohorts, lower among others).

Indeed, the trend line of Canadian adult sentiment from vaccine uncertainty to vaccine enthusiasm was one the few happy stories of the last 15 months. In late 2020, as COVID-19 vaccines were first introduced in this country, only 40 per cent of people told us at the Angus Reid Institute they wanted to be vaccinated “as soon as possible.” By January of 2021, that number had jumped to 60 per cent, and to 81 per cent by the spring, at which point millions were not only saying the words, but also rolling up their sleeves.

Teenagers also enthusiastically embraced the jab. By this month (per Health Canada) more than 80 per cent were fully vaccinated; almost 90 per cent had received one shot.

But well before inoculation for wee ones had been approved, it was evident the great Canadian vaccine rollout might stall with the children or, more accurately, with their parents.

For the rest of this piece, please view it on the Ottawa Citizen’s site where it was initially published.


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