Kids and COVID: What parents need to know about children, coronavirus and the vaccine
Should we be vaccinating Australian kids against COVID-19?
It’s a question receiving a lot of attention at the moment — and for good reason — the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for kids over 12 in North America, Britain and Israel, and Pfizer last month applied to Australia’s medical regulator for approval to vaccinated 12 to 15-year-olds.
Infectious diseases paediatrician from the University of Sydney, Professor Robert Booy, says while the delta strain appears to infect children more often than other strains of COVID-19, the virus is still much less severe than in adults and does not transmit as easily among children.
“If you look only at the stats from North America, 400 to 500 children have died, so we know it’s serious, but it’s in a very small minority,” he told Alicia Loxley, filling in for Dee Dee.
“600,000 adults have died … so that gives you a clear indication that COVID is much less likely to be severe in children.”
Professor Booy says it’s likely that by the time children are eligible for vaccination in Australia, there will be a huge amount of international data on the use of Pfizer in kids which can be used to guide decisions.
“If we’re just able to wait and let the adults get immunised first we’ll have hundreds of thousands of children followed up in other countries and that will confirm the safety some people are worried about,” he said.
“The real world evidence in hundreds of thousands will be available by early next year.”
But, when it does come time to consider vaccination in kids, he says it’s important to involve them in decision-making.
“We have to take into account the wishes and the opinions of children in what we do.”
Press PLAY below hear Professor Booy answer burning questions from listeners about children, coronavirus and the vaccine