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School disruption, 'long COVID,' all factors in choice to vaccinate young kids: Tam

Children's risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 are low compared to the rest of the population, but Tam warned rare incidents can become more common as the virus spreads. 
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A person receives their COVID-19 vaccine during a drive-thru clinic at Richardson stadium in Kingston, Ont., on Friday, Jul. 2, 2021. Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health office, said safety data won't be the only factor public-health officials and parents will have to consider when deciding whether to vaccinate young kids against COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

OTTAWA — Canada's top doctor says safety data won't be the only factor public-health officials and parents will have to consider when deciding whether to vaccinate young kids against COVID-19.

There are no COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in children under 12 in Canada right now, but Pfizer announced earlier this week positive results in its trial for kids aged five and up. 

Dr. Teresa Tam said Health Canada will be looking at the data carefully to determine if the vaccine is safe for children, but that's not the only factor parents will have to weigh up.

Children's risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 are low compared to the rest of the population, but Tam warned rare incidents can become more common as the virus spreads. 

She also points to the impacts of "long COVID," which is still being studied, and the importance of limiting disruptions to school as things to consider.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization and the Public Health Agency of Canada will provide more official advice when they receive and analyze the safety and efficacy data from Pfizer and other vaccine manufacturers. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2021.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press