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Why should children and youth get the vaccine?
Right now, individuals age 5 and up are eligible for the vaccine. Doctors, including pediatricians, recommend that everyone, including those age 5 to 11 and 12 to 17, should get vaccinated as soon as they are able to.
COVID-19 has changed. It poses a serious health threat to younger people too, including children and youth. The new variants circulating in Manitoba are more transmissible among younger people than we saw earlier in the pandemic, which means more young people are at risk for severe outcomes like hospitalization and ICU admission. A few children have died, and others are having long-term health issues even after they recover from the infection.
There are three key reasons why children and youth should get the vaccine, even if you don’t feel they are risk from COVID-19:
- Protect themselves: It’s not worth taking a chance with COVID when there’s a safe and effective way to prevent it.
- Avoid disruptions to their school, recreational and social activities. Fewer disruptions mean a return to a more normal way of life, and that is good for children’s mental and physical health. Children with COVID-19 will likely be able to return to activities sooner if they are vaccinated.
- Help protecting those around your children. Even if your child doesn’t develop severe illness or outcomes, they could spread the virus to others. The sooner more Manitobans are fully immunized, the sooner everyone is better protected and able to get back to a more normal way of life.
Fewer disruptions to children’s lives, along with decreasing their fear about getting infected or infecting someone they love, will benefit children’s mental health too.
Research is still underway to confirm the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for children age 4 and under.
• COVID-19 immunization for young people (Manitoba Public Health)