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Dr Joanne Paul

Parents and guardians are being urged to get their children vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

Paediatric Emergency Specialist and Regional Emergency Coordinator for the North Central Regional Health Authority Dr Joanne Paul made the call yesterday at the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 media conference.

Paul disclosed that side-effects of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children were mostly anxiety-related such as stomach aches and feeling faint and that they went away quickly.

She said serious side effects of the vaccine such as myocarditis and pericarditis in children were rare.

Paul elaborated that in terms of numbers side-effects for the Pfizer vaccine was usually about one to two per million for children between 12 to 18 years.

She explained what this meant for the population of children in T&T to be vaccinated was around one fifth a case that might be myocarditis or pericarditis, two separate major side-effects.

Paul said “The reality was in terms of real significant myocarditis or pericarditis we have none. What we found was most of the side effects have been anxiety-related or anxiety-associated. Children especially in that age group might be so anxious; they might have chest pains, stomach irritation or feel faint. Once their anxiety was resolved and they were reassured, their symptoms went away.”

She said the majority of children with COVID-19 were asymptomatic, however, two per cent of those infected with the virus had severe infections which needed hospitalisation.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram also urged parents to get their children vaccinated to protect them from the virus as the efficacy rate for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children had been very good at almost 100 per cent.

Parasram stated that 11 children in Jamaica died from COVID-19 and said T&T should not have to reach that stage with vaccines readily available to prevent deaths and serious illness.

County Medical Officer of Health for Caroni Dr Jeanine St Bernard also advocated for children to receive the COVID-19 vaccination for a return to a balanced life and healthy life.

She gave her experience in taking her children for the COVID-19 vaccine, that they were comfortable with the first dose administered at COSTAATT in El Dorado, and the second dose at the Wallerfield Drive Through and only experienced pain at the injection site.

T&T records 55 confirmed cases of MIS-C

Meanwhile, Paul confirmed that to date, there have been 55 confirmed cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome In Children (MIS-C) in T&T due to COVID-19.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MIS-C is a rare but serious condition associated with COVID-19 in which different body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

“We’ve had 55 confirmed cases of MIS-C up to this date from April last year to now. Interesting enough though, we have had the most in the Caribbean. We’re about mainly four to five times per capita more than any Caribbean country.

“We’re not sure why, but we know we’ve been having them confirmed, treated and there been no cases, no deaths so far from MIS-C in Trinidad at all, which has been great.”