Parental consent may prove the biggest hurdle to getting children vaccinated against Covid in WA, a leading epidemiologist has warned.
ECU Associate Dean (Research) Professor Jacques Oosthuizen from the School of Health and Medical Sciences said parents, not children, will be hardest to convince about getting the jab.
“I believe most kids will happily roll up their sleeves if it means they can go back to normal – the problem is when parents have to give consent,” Professor Oostuizen said.
“The internet, social media and sensationalised media reporting have completely clouded the facts.
“The (official) message should target not only the children but also parents.”
Perth mother-of-four and child health nurse Monique Price said she supported vaccinating children as young as 12 and saw it as no different to getting the flu jab.
“Once the older groups have had their (Covid) jabs, the younger age groups should be offered it,” Ms Price said.
She said Covid vaccination should be rolled out through the existing school vaccination program to maximise accessibility.
“The more places that have availability and accessibility, the better – shopping centres, schools, workplaces, and drive-through vaccinations.”
Other parents, however, have had mixed responses to the WA Government’s announcement this week to make vaccines available for children aged 12 and up.
“No thank you,” one parent wrote on the Premier’s Facebook page. “Not enough evidence and testing done on long-term health effects of this vaccine.”
Another wrote: “Please don’t rush into this. The UK has stopped vaccination for this age group.”
Professor Oostuizen said: “There are risks associated with any medication, including things like Panadol and contraceptive pills, but the Covid hype has been very negative and people in lockdown with not much else to do thrive on this negative reporting.”