The extension of the vaccine programme to young children has raised a “whole ethical issue” about whether it is OK to vaccinate children to protect others.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, author and mother-of-seven Jen Hogan said that, while a majority of parents will be happy to vaccinate their children, “it is a much, much smaller majority than we would have seen in the past”.
“There a quite a large number of parents who are still very concerned and have a lot of worries and questions,” she said.
“The main question they are asking is, why. They are asking why, when the disease is so mild, generally, amongst most children of that age [do they need to be vaccinated].
“There are also questions around fertility and heart inflammation - the same questions that came up before when the teenagers were being vaccinated - because when you are consenting for someone else, it is always a different pressure, a different ask, and parents are, naturally, extremely protective of their children. So, there are definitely a lot more concerns.”
She said the idea of vaccinating children to protect others has raised a “whole ethical issue” for parents.
“I think that is what parents are trying to get their heads around,” she said. “That whole idea of why we might do it – the bigger picture.
“Is it OK to vaccinate children to protect others? Is that a good thing or is that perhaps using children as some sort of buffer. It has kind of caused a big dilemma for a lot of people, but it is something people are taking into account.
“Obviously, most people have vulnerable family members – whether that is a grandparent or somebody at home who lives with them or a friend or a family member. Everybody has somebody vulnerable who they love and there is a real desire to get back to normal life but will vaccinating children bring normal life back?
“That is part of the concern when considering things like this. Will it give them the chance to miss less school, to miss less of their activities?”
On The Pat Kenny Show meanwhile, the Chair of the Irish Medical Organisation’s GP Committee Dr Denis McCauley said cases among five to 12-year-olds have gone up 21% in past few weeks.
He said there are a range of benefits to vaccinating children.
“At the very least, it will help their health,” he said. “It will decrease the incidence of COVID in this group.
“Also, it will decrease the spread to their parents, to their grandparents and finally, it will have, probably, educationally benefits – hopefully schools will remain open more.
“Then, if you are a parent and you have to stay off for two weeks and that can be stopped, that will obviously have economic benefits also.”
He said it is essential that the benefits are clearly explained to parents and children.
You can listen back to Jen Hogan here:
And Dr McCauley here: