Wednesday, December 8

Hesitation, Inequality: Does America ‘Make The Same Mistakes’ With Children’s Vaccines? | Coronavirus


When Nia Heard-Garris’ son learned that Covid vaccines were licensed for adults in the US late last year, he became excited and asked, “But what about us? What happen with the kids?

The eight-year-old is finally signed up for his first shot later this week. Even though they fear needles, they can’t wait to get vaccinated so they can get back to looking more like a child’s normal life (hanging out with friends, going to school, playing sports) without worrying about getting sick. or get the virus. home.

More than 360,000 children under the age of 12 have already received their first vaccination, according to the CDC. The doses began to be distributed last week to the 28 million children in this age group.

However, some American parents are still hesitant about vaccinations. in a survey in october, only 27% of parents said they would vaccinate their children immediately, a decrease from 34% who said the same in September. At the same time, 30% of parents said they would “definitely not” vaccinate their children, compared to 24% the previous month.

Although vaccines for children over the age of 12 have been available for several months, only half of this age group has been vaccinated.

Heard-Garris, a pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago and Northwestern University, understands these concerns well. She is the co-author of a study find that the communities hardest hit by the pandemic also have the highest rates of reluctance towards Covid vaccines for children. Black parents were more likely to doubt than white parents, and families with lower income and public insurance were also more likely to doubt.

The report also found encouraging signs: Parents who received vaccine information from a variety of sources were less likely to have doubts, with almost two-thirds of parents concerned about the possible long-term effects of the vaccine.

Low-income parents are particularly concerned about missing work for vaccination appointments, paying for vaccinations, and not being able to get the vaccine from a trusted source.

Vaccines for children ages five to 11 in the U.S. are being managed at local pharmacies, pediatric and family doctor offices, children’s hospitals, and school clinics.

Heard-Garris is also concerned about “children who are not connected to the health system or a primary medical home.”

The week the vaccines for children ages five to 11 were released, more than 100,000 children tested positive for Covid, and 6.5 million children tested positive since the pandemic began. according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 474 deaths of children between the ages of five to 18 since the start of the pandemic.

For several months, children have accounted for a quarter of new cases in the United States, a disproportionate burden that has persisted despite the availability of vaccines for those 12 and older.

Jorge Caballero, a board certified anesthesiologist and co-founder of Coders Against Covid, has found that white neighborhoods have twice as many vaccination sites as other neighborhoods. And within those neighborhoods, he told The Guardian, sites tend to cluster in wealthier areas in what he calls “another round of prioritization for predominantly white neighborhoods.”

Interest in the vaccine is roughly the same across all racial and ethnic groups, but access appears to be more limited, he said.

Caballero is concerned about equal access to vaccines for children and calls for transparent data on race and ethnicity among CDC childhood vaccines.

These inequalities reflect past disparities around testing and vaccines for adults, he said. “We keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. We are just not being proactive enough in terms of addressing the gaps. “

“All we are looking for is equity,” Caballero said.

Vaccination campaigns must take into account the continuing effects of structural racism and systemic oppression, Heard-Garris said.

“If you have three jobs and the vaccine clinic is only eight to five, and you can’t afford to lose your job, how do we make sure there is a schedule? If they are already in an after school program, can we have a vaccination clinic there? “

Your child’s school, for example, sent an email offering appointments that were easy to book and attend, as they wouldn’t need to be taken out of school.

“The pandemic has completely disrupted the way of life not only for adults, but also for children: school was not the same, the ability to go to birthday parties and connect with each other has been really disrupted,” he said. Heard-Garris. “Vaccines are important because they save lives, but they are also important because of the socio-emotional connections that we have lost.”




www.theguardian.com

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