Children aged 5-11 to be offered Covid vaccine from today

Parents and guardians can register their children through the HSE's website
Children aged 5-11 to be offered Covid vaccine from today

James Cox

Online registration for Covid-19 vaccination for all children aged five to 11 is now open.

Parents and guardians can register their children through the HSE's website.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan is encouraging parents to engage with the trusted medical advice from the health service before making their decision.

“Vaccines are doing an excellent job of preventing severe illness and disease in those who are fully vaccinated. This is good news. Getting your child vaccinated is a decision between you and your child. I encourage all parents and guardians to engage with the trusted health advice available on the HSE website, and with your own family clinician if you have any concerns about bringing your child for this vaccine,” he said.

Chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Council (Niac) Professor Karina Butler said many parents and guardians will have genuine concerns and questions about Covid-19 vaccination for their children.

“However, when the available evidence relating to the risk Covid-19 can pose to some children, as well as the significant negative impact on the lives of all of them, particularly the educational and social lives of our children, are considered, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks,” she said.

Professor Ed Lavelle, head of the school of biochemistry and immunology at Trinity College Dublin, previously spoke to BreakingNews.ie about Covid vaccines for children and addressed some common concerns of parents in a Q&A.

Clinical trials

Prof Lavelle cited figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which revealed five million children aged between five and 11 in the United States have received Covid vaccines without any severe side effects or illnesses reported.

"There’s five million kids in the United States who have been vaccinated without any red flags, so the safety issues have been dealt with. Efficacy looks good in that age group with a lower dose of vaccine. That would have been one of the concerns parents had a couple of months ago. The clinical trials looked very good already, but now real world data from the States suggests that the vaccine is very safe in young children."

He added: "Clinical trials are done very carefully and are very highly regulated but even if people didn’t feel there were enough patients included in those trials, the most recent figure is five million Americans between five and 11-years-old have been vaccinated without any signals regarding myocarditis or anything like that, so that’s extremely encouraging in terms of safety.

"It looks extremely safe. The dose given of the Pfizer vaccine is one third of the adult dose, and they looked very carefully at some suggested side effects in the US and found almost nothing, that was across five million children, so that’s a huge number of kids vaccinated, that should really put people’s minds at ease. It looks extremely safe."

 

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