'This is not the flu': Local pediatrician urging parents to get children vaccinated against COVID-19
A local pediatrician is urging parents of children between the ages of five and 11 to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
Despite being in the middle of a 48 hour shift, Dr. Matthew Purser, who works at Cambridge Memorial Hospital and Grand River Hospital, attended Waterloo Region’s COVID-19 community update with a strong message for parents.
“It’s important to have all children vaccinated to protect all members of the community who may be at greater risk when they do contract that virus,” Dr. Purser said. “Most children are going to come out of it OK in the end. But this is not the flu. COVID is not influenza. It is its own unique virus and we know it can cause quite unique complications to a number of different age groups, so please get vaccinated.”
ADDRESSING CONCERNS FROM PARENTS
Dr. Purser debunked a concern he’s heard that the COVID-19 vaccine out for the public was rushed.
“While this is the first instance of widespread clinical use of an MRNA vaccine, this technology has actually been in development for several years,” noted Dr. Pursers. “Clinical trials using similar vaccines have been in early stages for other types of infections for many years as well. So while it’s a first for its actually use, it’s not a first for how it’s been designed."
Another concern that Dr. Purser has heard from parents is about the so-called heart complications the COVID-19 vaccine may cause for younger age groups.
“We know there have been rare cases,” said Purser. “But this is a rare scenario overall. About one in 10,000. And it’s primarily seen in young adolescent males, especially after the second dose.”
Dr. Purser said for the five to the 11-year-old age group, not a single instance of a heart complication has been documented to date.
MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS
Dr. Purser stressed getting children vaccinated will have mental health benefits.
He suggested it will lead to increased extra-curricular participation and general community events.