Covid: Slowdown in vaccination uptake among children worrying officials

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A Covid-19 vaccination drive for children
A Covid-19 vaccination drive for children

Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony has expressed concerns about the sudden “slow off” in children being vaccinated against the deadly novel coronavirus.

“For the children, we initially saw a rapid uptake of the vaccines, and these are the Pfizer vaccines. However, I think over the last week we have started to see a slow off, where not as many children are coming forward to get vaccinated,” said the Health Minister during Monday’s COVID-19 update.

Dr Anthony said that if the vaccination rate among children continues like this, it is going to take a long time for them to safely return to school. To this end, he urged parents to take their children to get vaccinated.

As of Sunday, the Health Minister disclosed that 5594 children have tested positive for the coronavirus. And according to him, they range from the 0-4, 5-9, 10-14 age groups, and right up to age 19.

“We are seeing children testing positive, and a subset of them can have complications as we have also seen because if they have underlying issues just like with the adults, when that is compounded with COVID, they can have a more severe form of the infection and that can lead to several problems.”

He explained that when children become infected with COVID-19, they would contract a milder form of the disease. He also dismissed reports that children cannot become infected as being “far from the truth.”

Dr Anthony also addressed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), which according to Mayo Clinic, is a serious condition that appears to be linked to coronavirus disease.

He confirmed that there has been no case of MIS-C in Guyana yet, and although it is a very rare condition, it is something health workers have been constantly looking out for.

He explained that MIS-C is something that was first observed in Europe and since then paediatrics around the world have been asked to keep a close eye on it. “When children test positive for COVID, or even if they have a history of COVID, you have to look out for the signs and symptoms of MIS-C.”

The WHO has set aside six criteria that should be met for a diagnosis of MIS-C, he said.