Children to receive the vaccine. TOKYO The COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11 was classified in the health ministry as a quick shot without cost. But, the health ministry also decided that children within this age range will be exempted from the law that demands people try to get vaccines as it’s difficult to determine how many parents and guardians will allow their children to get the vaccine.
Local governments are battling with how to manage the introduction of these vaccines. It could begin by the close of the month.
Whether parents should be required to take steps to ensure that children aged 5-11 are vaccine-free was the most important agenda item at the meeting of the Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry expert subcommittee that met on Thursday
“There isn’t sufficient scientific evidence showing the vaccine’s effectiveness against the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus,” was the consensus of the subcommittee.
“I think getting public support for such a move will be difficult,” was another view.
U.S. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. manufactured this vaccine for children. A clinical study conducted by Pfizer conducted with 2,000 participants in the summer of 2013 confirmed that the vaccine’s 90.7 percent efficient in preventing symptoms of COVID-19. But the delta variant was the most prevalent at the time, which means the department is taking a more cautious approach.
“The vaccine can be expected to have an effect against omicron, but at the moment, we can’t definitively say that it does,” an official in the ministry said.
Some children have become unwell following the discovery of the coronavirus novel. Omicron also has a lower chance of causing severe illnesses. These facts bolstered the opinions of subcommittee members who were cautious regarding the legality of requiring attempts to immunize children with this vaccine.
SHOTS FOR TOTS: John Valencia takes a swab from Arcen Rey Carlos, as his dad, Arceo Carlos Jr., holds him during free COVID-19 testing offered by Guam Radiology across from Oka Payless Jan. 26 in Tamuning. Arcen will turn 5 in one day and his dad said he would be getting the vaccine. Post file photo
A subcommittee member believed that the lawful “duty to endeavor to receive vaccination” should be extended to the age group 5-11.
“It’s possible to even more young children will catch the virus, and there are reports from overseas of children who become very sick,” was one view.
A different opinion suggested that not applying the law “could give the impression that the vaccination is unnecessary.”
The spread of the virus has been increasing in children under 10 in Japan. As per the Ministry of Health, 76.856 children contracted the virus between February. 2 and 8.
The subcommittee, however, agreed that a system must be “quickly put in place” to ensure that children are vaccinated against the significant risk of becoming sick, such as those suffering from heart disease.
“The wishes of people who don’t want to receive the vaccine must be respected,” said Keio University Prof. Tetsu Isobe, a subcommittee chairman and expert in medical law. “On the flip side, we should create an environment in which people who want the vaccine can get it and decide based on information provided.”
The ministry will prepare an informational pamphlet that explains the risks and benefits of the vaccination to aid parents in understanding the importance of the vaccine.
The decision to exclude small children from the lawful requirement to try to get vaccines has frightened officials from local governments.
“We’re concerned that fewer people might come forward for the vaccine,” stated an official of the local government of Bunkyo Ward in Tokyo.
The vaccine given to children aged 5-11 is provided in a lower dose and is then diluted differently than the vaccine given to people older than 12. Each bottle of children’s vaccine has ten quantities. This is four more than the standard vaccine.
Bunkyo Ward plans to establish vaccination facilities specifically for children aged 5-11 due to the concern that medical institutions may struggle to gather ten children simultaneously. However, Bunkyo Ward is concerned that the plan may be flawed.
“If fewer children than anticipated come along, some vaccine might get discarded,” a ward official said.
Edogawa Ward is making arrangements to administer vaccines to children in around 80 medical facilities, including pediatric and internal medicine clinics.
“I’m not for making this vaccine subject to the law requiring efforts to get vaccinated,” stated the head of one of the targeted clinics within the ward. “I want guardians to decide what they want to do for their children, without being swayed by what people around them say.”
Making steps to combat discrimination or bullying triggered by vaccinations will also be crucial.
The Kobe government plans to vaccinate children in a single manner instead of holding mass vaccinations in schools. This summer, the city was contemplating organizing mass vaccinations for children aged 12-15 but was forced to cancel the idea after a torrent of complaints from parents. The city was concerned that such activities could cause bullying as each student’s vaccination status will be known by other students at school.
Kawasaki University of Medical Welfare Prof. Kazunobu Ouchi said a flexible approach is needed.