The Faculty of Paediatrics along with the National Clinical Programme for Paediatrics and Neonatology welcomes and supports the COVID-19 vaccine programme for children aged 5-11 years and encourages parents to avail of vaccination.
“We strongly urge all parents or guardians to avail of vaccination for their children,” said Dr Louise Kyne, Dean of the Faculty of Paediatrics. “The benefits are clearly laid out in the NIAC guidance”.
Families will be invited to register their children soon via an on-line portal. Children with medical vulnerability will be invited to register first – likely from 28 December – along with those who live with a vulnerable person. Children without medical conditions will then be invited to register.
While the individual risk for children without medical conditions is low, severe disease and death have occurred, rarely, in children who were previously well, which is why the Faculty of Paediatrics is strongly recommending all children within the recommended age groups avail of the vaccine.
Dr Louise Kyne has highlighted that there is very good evidence now to support vaccination of children. “The vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective at preventing severe illness and reducing transmission. All children should avail of it, but particularly those with underlying medical conditions or those living with others who have complex medical needs/immunocompromised. Side effects when they occur are generally minor and short lived. No new safety concerns have arisen in this age group. Parents should discuss with their GP or Paediatrician if they have concerns or wish for more information.”
“COVID-19 vaccination provides direct benefits to children and the medical risk of COVID-19 infection to children is minimised by vaccination. The risk and implications of requiring repeated periods of isolation and restrictions – educational and social – will be reduced through vaccination. There are also societal benefits of vaccination that will benefit children both directly and indirectly.”
Dr Ellen Crushell, National Clinical Lead for Paediatrics, recommends the vaccine to all children aged 5+ to avoid unnecessary illness and the complications of COVID-19 infection - including acute illness, long Covid and PIMS-TS. “Vaccination of children will also allow children to have a more normal, and less restricted, childhood; they have been severely impacted by the pandemic to date.”
Prof John Murphy, National Clinical lead for Neonatology, also supports the vaccination process as it will greatly facilitate children's education, their development with school activities/sports and socialisation with family relatives
Parents and guardians are advised to get information from reliable sources such as the HSE and NIAC.