By Prior Beharry
MOST vaccine trials do not involve children, but this does not mean that “down the line” they won’t be given the Covid-19 vaccine.
This according to Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram at the virtual media conference of the Ministry of Health on Wednesday.
The Pfizer/BioTech Covid-19 vaccine which has been given emergency-use authorization by the World Health Organization is not recommended for children under 16 years of age.
Dr Parasram said there should not be the assumption that “nowhere down the line” children will not be allowed to be vaccinated, “they maybe but much later on.”
He was responding to a question about schools in Trinidad and Tobago remaining closed but yet the vaccine would not be administered to children.
Dr Parasram said the population should achieve herd immunity which means “you protect the ones that are vulnerable.”
He said at the outset children would not be given the vaccine but were still vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Dr Parasram noted that children in T&T have Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) presentations.
He added, “It looked like 3% of our children… under 19 presented with some sort of severe manifestation which is a large amount.
“So we have to protect the children at all cost.
“And we have seen children in T&T have MIS-C presentations upward of 20 persons presenting to hospital so children at a risk of severe disease.”
According to the US Center for Disease Control MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.
Dr Parasram said therefore achieving herd immunity to protect children was important.
He said, “One way to do it is to develop herd immunity – so your parents are vaccinated, if you have siblings over 19 they are vaccinated so chances are there is some degree of isolation even in the home and of course if the rest of the population is vaccinated and numbers of cases in the country go down, they you have very minimal viral load in the country, it decreases the likelihood of someone being infected in a school environment.”