Canada's efforts to combat COVID19 will fail if children and youth do not figure


OTTAWA, ON, CNW/ - Canada's efforts to combat COVID19 will fail if children and youth do not figure prominently in a national vaccine strategy. Canada, like many peers internationally, will soon start vaccinating its citizens against the novel coronavirus. With time of the essence, Canada urgently requires a plan to protect those both infected and affected by COVID19, including children and youth.

Canada's- efforts- to- combat- COVID19- will -fail- if -children- and- youth- do- not- figure

Children and youth have been the silent victims of this pandemic and will suffer the longest tail of COVID19 unless and until Canada implements measures to ensure their physical and mental health, safety, and wellbeing.

 An effective national vaccine strategy not only protects those Canadians most at risk of contracting COVID19, but also those most directly impacted by public health measures aimed to reduce the spread of this virus.

Concerns around the national vaccine strategy and Canada's 8 million children are many:

  • What is the government's plans to ensure a safe and effective vaccine for children? While clinical trials are underway internationally to ensure a COVID19 vaccine will one day be available for children and youth, there remains uncertainty around the timing of its release, and whether a vaccine for children was negotiated in contracts between the government and industry. Canada's 8 million children and youth represent over 20% of the population. With goals to reach herd immunity established to equal 70% of the population, a strategy that does not include children will not succeed.
  • When will parents or caregivers of medically fragile and disabled children deemed vulnerable to COVID19 be prioritized for the vaccine? It is widely agreed that a national vaccine strategy must address and prioritize the most vulnerable Canadians - but to date, almost 1 million children and youth with disabilities and other medical complexities have not been classified within this category. With up to 20% of COVID19 transmission happening in the home, it is essential that parents, siblings and other caregivers be vaccinated to protect these vulnerable children.
  • What is the government's position on Immunity Passports? Will families be exempted? In some jurisdictions, governments are considering immunity passports to establish proof of vaccination. For children under the age of 16, for whom vaccination is not yet available or may ultimately be contra-indicated, what will be the implication for families? Will children and youth suffer a burden of stigma associated with not being vaccinated, and what are the implications on their mental health?
  • What will the national vaccination strategy ensure childcare, primary and secondary schools remain open over the weeks and months to come? Children's health and wellbeing throughout the pandemic is heavily dependent on a community of healthy adults who support and surround them. Every jurisdiction in Canada has seen firsthand the impact of childcare and school closures on children, youth and families. Physical and emotional safety, nutrition, academic and emotional development, even health services delivery are all compromised if childcare centres and schools shutter again in the face of COVID. What priority does Canada's national vaccine strategy place on educators, school staff, childcare workers and others who work with an unimmunized population?

Children's Healthcare Canada understands the complexity involved in what will be an unprecedented effort to develop and implement a national vaccine strategy to protect Canadians from the coronavirus. Put simply, children and youth must be central to this strategy, and central to Canada's overall COVID recovery efforts.

Post a Comment