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Paediatrician says Covid-19 jabs for children are safe

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Dozens of young Bermudians were among those who contracted Covid-19 during the latest surge of infections.

Dy-Juan DeRoza, the National Epidemiologist for the Ministry of Health, said that 67 cases involving children aged between 12 and 15 had been recorded this year.

But Dr DeRoza added that only a third of cases in the age group experienced symptoms.

“By classification, 4 per cent were imported, 30 per cent were household contacts of known cases, and 39 per cent were classified as becoming infected either through school, or a school-related activity or something like that,” said Dr DeRoza.

The figures were released in a Facebook presentation on Covid-19 vaccination and testing as the debate over vaccination continued.

The use of the Pfizer vaccine has been authorised for use in the age group by the US Food & Drug Administration.

But Bermuda has not been given approval for the administration of jabs provided by the UK to people aged under 16.

Dr DeRoza said that vaccination sign-ups for those between 12 and 15 opened up three weeks ago and there was “definite interest”.

Dr Sylvanus Nawab, Bermuda Hospitals Board's Chief of Paediatrics, said that concerns had been raised about vaccine safety, but tests for the 12 to 15 age group had found the vaccine to be safe and more effective than in older age groups.

He said: “All of the safety concerns have been looked into and it has proven to be really safe.

“The reason why people question the safety is because people think it’s a new vaccine and it is new technology, which is not really true in the sense that this is not a new technology.

“This technology has been investigated and used in other products for the past 20 years.”

Dr Nawab added: “When you look at the science behind the vaccine, the science is solid, the safety is solid. There is no reason not to vaccinate.”

He said younger people were less likely to experience severe symptoms from infection.

But Dr Nawab added: “Children are the ones most impacted in this Covid-19 crisis.

“The impact of not being in school, the impact of not being involved in extracurricular activities, has caused a lot of psychological damage that will continue, so we need to get the children back to some normalcy.”

He said there had been rare cases of children suffering long-term effects from Covid-19.

Dr Nawab added: “You might say that it's a small population, but no child is born in this world to get a disease and die. No child is born to die.

“We have to protect our children, and part of that protection is making sure they are healthy, giving them the strong base of good nutrition, a good, sound body, a sound mind, adequate care, and part of that includes vaccinating them.”

He added that widespread vaccination would also help control the spread of the coronavirus to people with weakened immune systems or other high-risk medical problems.

Dr Nawab said: “By vaccinating the healthy children you are protecting those who need the most protection in our society, who are the weak, who are the immunosuppressed, who have conditions that don’t give them a good immune response.”

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Published May 31, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated May 31, 2021 at 8:05 pm)

Paediatrician says Covid-19 jabs for children are safe

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