Benefits far outweigh risks in vaccinating teen son against Covid-19

When the government announced that the vaccination programme would kick off earlier this year, I jumped at the chance the moment I was eligible.

But when the government began inoculating adolescents recently, I became cautious about signing my 13-year-old son up.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not an anti-vaxxer. My son has never missed his scheduled vaccination while growing up.

However, different data and studies had emerged on the risks of the Covid-19 vaccine to adolescents. That put me on edge.

Yes, I became a parent with vaccine hesitancy. There was research and data, and the more I read, the more conflicted I became.

A recent article in The Guardian, the United Kingdom’s vaccine advisory board, advised against vaccinating healthy 12- to 15-year-olds due to the side effects, particularly rare heart inflammation (myocarditis).

It stated that according to data from the United States, this condition could occur in up to 160 cases per million among boys, and 13 per million in girls, mainly after the second shot.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation argued that jabs would offer marginal benefits to this group.

That data scared me. Am I willing to take my child out of his bubble and risk having the adverse effects of the vaccine on him?

However, the UK regulator recently approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in children aged 12-15, saying it is safe and effective. The US government began vaccinating adolescents with Pfizer after recommendations from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Initially, many reports stated that the effects of Covid-19 in children were less likely to cause serious illness, claiming they seemed to have a higher resistance towards the virus.

But I realised that children were no longer as safe as they once were, during the start of the pandemic.

More and more children were getting infected, and the effects of the virus were no longer mild, probably due to the different variants, like Delta.

According to the Health Ministry, there were 310,074 Covid-19 cases involving children at the end of August, compared to 12,620 cases last year. A total of 67 children have died this year, compared to six deaths last year.

Studies have also suggested that those who recovered from the virus may still suffer from ‘long-Covid’, including fatigue, headaches, and fever.

So, which is the lesser of the two evils? As a parent, the answer isn’t always so clear cut.

After having thought long and hard about it, and reading up on vaccinations in adolescents, I decided to allow my child to be vaccinated.

Yes, the risks were there, but because it could be worse off for him if he caught the virus, I think the benefits far outweighed the dangers.

I did it because I wanted him to be safe and healthy, and to resume life, to socialise, and travel safely, in this new normal.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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