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Dr Joanne Paul

Local health officials have not recorded any cases of MIS-C in people aged 12 to 18 during the past three months and a leading expert has attributed this to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Senior Paediatric Emergency Medicine Specialist, Dr Joanne Paul, on Monday said although 65 MIS-C cases had been recorded between March 2020 to present, no cases were recorded during the months of September to November.

She credited this to the call for adolescents aged 12 to 18 to get vaccinated.

“We have had no MIS-C cases in that age group. The vaccination has actually stopped the MIS-C cases in that age group,” Dr Paul said.

MIS-C in children is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

Symptoms of MIS-C include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes and feeling extra tired.

While the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said they do not know what causes MIS-C, they warned it can be serious and even deadly.

Confirming that four children had been lost to COVID-19 since the pandemic first began in T&T, Paul said they were aged 15, 13 and two seven-year-olds.

She said, “All of them had separate pre-existing illnesses that have made them vulnerable to COVID-19.”

In the parallel healthcare system, she estimated that there had been an average of 320 pediatric admissions since last year to now.

Breaking this down, she explained there were three categories of persons —namely those less than three months old who normally suffer with sepsis as their immune system is not yet not fully developed; followed by adolescents with pre-existing medical conditions, including cardiac, obesity, renal, sickle cell, diabetes and congenital disorders; and lastly, those who are asymptomatic.

Renewing the call for persons to get vaccinated, she said, “The most significant factor with regards to you being in the ICU or you dying, is you being unvaccinated.”

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh endorsed the call for greater vaccination among the populace, as he said 96.2 per cent of deaths recorded between March 2020 to November 15 this year were in unvaccinated persons.

“If you are vaccinated, you stand a much greater chance of surviving COVID,” he said.

Deyalsingh said between July 22 to November 10, 90.9 per cent of patients in the parallel healthcare system were unvaccinated.

Asked how many doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had expired on November 30, he said T&T had received a total of 277,200 doses, of which there were 1,870 overages, which represented .67 per cent of the total vaccines issued.

He described this as “really really good,” as he claimed that 99.3 per cent of AZ vaccines had been used.