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Vaccinating children: Overload or the best way to stop the spread?

Children looking at a Covid-19 vaccine bottle with questioning looks
Are you going to sign up your child for a Covid-19 vaccine? Shutterstock ID 1951892353

Kids aren’t the most likely to get seriously ill from Covid-19 – so should they get vaccinated?

It’s a common question that has surrounded the issue of vaccinating children, an issue that’s been controversial since the vaccine rollout began.

The Scottish Government announced on Wednesday that it is accepting new advice to offer vaccines to all five to 11-year-olds.

Some parents have said they think it’s the right choice, even if it’s a difficult one.

But local disease expert Prof Hugh Pennington said that the vaccine isn’t just about kids. It’s about their parents, teachers and grandparents who might be at a higher risk.

Is it the right choice for your child?

Readers recently told us they thought it was too soon to vaccinate kids who aren’t in school yet.

But now that the Scottish Government is making vaccines available to five to 11-year-olds, will you be signing your child up for an appointment?

Inverness parent Paul Saint, whose son is seven, also acknowledged it was a difficult decision – but one where he’d tend to follow the rules.

He added: “It’s very new news so we haven’t really thought it through completely yet, but I think we probably will do it.

“But it’s a very different feeling deciding for your child rather than just for yourself, it’s much more of a responsibility to get it right.”

Online, parents reacting to our Facebook post breaking the news earlier, seemed to be worried about the decision.

Lisa Marie wrote: “Not for me or my children.”

And Karol Karbownik added: “Just take the risk-benefit analysis and the decision is simple, no point of the vaccines at all.”

Vaccinating children: Is it about the kids or the community?

Aberdeen microbiologist Prof Hugh Pennington said that the virus has been active among young people and spreads mostly among families.

Although the relationship between falling seriously ill with the virus is connected mostly to age, there are rare but serious complications in kids.

The double purpose in vaccinating children is protecting them from those rare complications and slowing the spread, he said.

“The more important of the two is giving the virus a harder time surviving in the population and bringing the pandemic to a close sooner than otherwise.”

Prof Hugh Pennington says the decision to vaccinate five to 11-year-olds could have come sooner. Picture by Kami Thomson / DCT Media

Better late than never, or a waste of time?

The Educational Institute of Scotland, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, welcomed the announcement.

Highland EIS representative Alistair Bell said that members would have liked to see the decision much earlier.

But they still expect it to make schools safer for both pupils and staff.

The Covid vaccine will be offered to all children aged between five and 11

Meanwhile, parent group UFT Scotland said the extended vaccine rollout is a distraction.

Jo Bisset, the group’s organiser, said there’s no need to vaccinate healthy kids.

“Instead of pursuing this, the Scottish Government would be better off putting resources into children’s mental health.”

Read more from the Schools & Family

Free childcare in Scotland: All you need to know about nurseries in your local area

How 2,400 CO2 monitors are helping the fight against Covid in Aberdeenshire schools

Youth mental health support in the north and north-east

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