Why aren’t children getting the COVID-19 vaccination?

A child getting vaccinated
A child receives a vaccination in this undated photo. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Vaccinating children is a common practice all over the world. Children get vaccinated against measles, mumps, polio, diphtheria, and multiple types of meningitis and pertussis infections less than three months after their birth. But why aren’t they getting vaccinated against COVID-19?اضافة اعلان

Jordan, like many countries other countries around the world, gave healthcare workers, adults, and the elderly priority to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to a report shared by the Ministry of Health discussing the epidemiological situation in the Kingdom, out of 494 total COVID-19 cases recorded on Friday, seven cases involved children ages zero to five, nine cases involved children aged six to nine, and 41 cases were of children aged 10 to 18, serving as only 13 percent of the total cases recorded that day.

Mohannad Al-Nsour, executive director of the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET) and member of the National Epidemiological Committee, said that the World Health Organization (WHO) divided COVID-19 patients into different age groups, and children were the age group least likely to be affected severely by the virus worldwide.

“Children are least likely to get the virus in comparison to an elder who has chronic diseases for example,” Nsour said. “And even if they did, their severity rate is much less, and so is the possibility of them getting hospitalized. Infection in children is always mild or asymptomatic, polar to the older age groups given priority in vaccination campaigns.”

Research supports Nsour’s explanation: A study conducted in seven countries with high rates of COVID-19 published in Lancet Medical Journal indicated that less than two out of one million children died because of the virus during the pandemic.

In addition, the study showed that 7 percent of children younger than 18 years of age with severe symptoms required intensive care units (ICU), whereas 53 percent of adults who had severe symptoms required ICU.

Nsour said several countries in the world are “stocking and monopolizing” vaccines, and have already started to vaccinate children ages 12 and younger, instead of providing vaccines to health workers in less wealthy countries, for example.

“Nationalization of the vaccines is a real concept now. Major countries are stocking excess amounts of the vaccine and have started to provide it to their children, while other countries are struggling to provide it to elders and health sector workers,” he explained. “The world will never get herd immunity unless we all cooperate.”

Nsour added that some scientists and medical workers consider vaccinating healthy children instead of elders “unethical”, and that children with chronic diseases are also given priority to get the vaccine.

Ayeda Masandeh, a 32-year-old mother of two children, said that she believes that the scenario should be “completely the opposite” because elders are most likely to stay at home engaging with their close family members, while children have to go out with their parents and increase their possibility of catching the virus.

“Children are a lot harder to control, most of them can’t commit to wearing a face mask, and keep touching their surrounding environment which is surely not sanitized,” she said, arguing children should be prioritized for the shots. “Even if an elder left the house, they would still commit and wear a face mask, and regularly sanitize their hands.”

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