I just find this all so unfathomable. There seems to be a warped collective mind of great immensity on this planet at the moment. The KoolAid effect is only intensifying in Canada.
ARTICLE: Canada prepares to embark on the largest and most urgent childhood mass vaccination campaign since the polio epidemic of the 1950s, health experts say planning is urgently needed to put in place child-friendly COVID-19 outreach strategies that avoid the logistical headaches that plagued the vaccine rollout for adults earlier this year.
Covid-19 vaccines are currently approved in Canada only for people aged 12 and older. But the arrival of shots for younger Canadians is imminent. Last week, Pfizer/BioNTech submitted preliminary data to Health Canada for the approval of its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11.
Once the shots are available, the work of getting them into children’s arms will begin. But orchestrating a vaccination campaign for children poses several unique challenges, experts say, and answering parents’ questions about vaccine safety will be key to success. Complicating matters further will be the lack of national co-ordination: Provinces and local health authorities will each be in charge of implementing strategies for their jurisdictions, but many say they have only just begun the process of developing those plans.
Throughout the pandemic, parents have heard that COVID-19 cases among children are generally mild and rarely serious. Data from Ontario, for instance, show that less than 1 per cent of school-aged children infected with COVID-19 end up in hospital.
“The whole time, we’ve deprioritized children, saying, ‘Oh, they’re fine, schools are good, kids are okay.’ Now, that has to be undone,” said Cora Constantinescu, a Calgary pediatrician and infectious disease specialist who helps run a vaccine hesitancy clinic. “Kids’ lives have to be prioritized. We need to say enough is enough.”
Serious outcomes in children are rare – but when they do happen, they can be devastating. A number of children may develop complications such as long COVID, when symptoms persist for weeks or months, Dr. Constantinescu said. And she said that uncontrolled spread of the virus can lead to disruptions to in-person schooling and other childhood activities.
Ran Goldman, a pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at the University of British Columbia, said provinces should be creative with the locations of vaccine clinics to make the process easy and convenient for families. The shots, he suggested, could be given in schools, or at drive-in locations where children could be vaccinated in their families’ cars.
“I think that it is important to think outside the box when it comes to vaccinating children,” Dr. Goldman said. “We need to do it as fast as possible once it’s approved by Health Canada.”
Despite urgent calls by some experts to create vaccine plans for children under 12, many jurisdictions have not yet released the details of their strategies.
A spokesperson for Alberta Health Services said the province will move quickly to develop a plan if and when Health Canada approves vaccines for children. Last week, Toronto Public Health said it had formed a working group for a vaccine rollout for children, but that no plans or details are ready for public release. A spokesperson for British Columbia’s Ministry of Health said the province’s vaccine campaign for 5- to 11-year-olds will likely take place in a mix of community and school clinics and pharmacies, but provided no specific details.
Experts say provinces should make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for school attendance.