Update from Dr Yiannis – COVID-19 vaccinations and children

I hope this latest update finds you and your loved ones well.

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Our practice is here to support you as usual.

I wish you all the very best, 

Dr Yiannis,

What does the COVID-19 vaccine mean for my child?

What do we know about the COVID-19 vaccine and children?

A year like no other.

An exciting announcement of our own.

We are reaching the end of what has been a tough and challenging year for everyone. I want to thank you all for the support and good will messages I have received that have been such a motivation this year. 

It has understandably been a worrying time for parents and we have just about kept on top of the ever-changing advice and guidance. I’m pleased to hear that you find these updates informative and reassuring and I will keep you updated as long you find them helpful and as long as I am able.

Even at the time of writing, cases in London, the UK and internationally are rising again and families face another set of difficult decisions about seeing loved ones over the Christmas Period. 

However, hope is on the horizon as we go into the New Year with renewed but cautious optimism thanks to the news of the roll out of COVID-19 vaccine. 

What does the COVID-19 vaccine mean for my child?

In the short term, there is no change in advice relating to children and COVID 19. The vaccine is a positive turning point, but there is still the need for ongoing adherence to national guidelines and to exercise common sense and caution to continue to protect those most vulnerable. 

Children will not be a priority for the vaccine since fortunately, they have been the least and most mildly affected by COVID-19. Fewer than 5% of COVID-19 cases are amongst children and data continues to show that they appear to exhibit only mild symptoms. 

Cough and fever remain the main symptoms in children, but gastrointestinal symptoms have also been described. Serious illness and complications have been very rare, including the multisystem inflammatory syndrome referred to in my previous posts. 

What do we know about the COVID-19 vaccine and children?

So what do we know so far? Vaccine trials have only just begun in children and there are, therefore, very limited data on the safety of the vaccines for this group (see resources below). 

As such, COVID-19 vaccines are not yet recommended for children and young people under 16 years of age. Vaccination may be considered for children with serious neuro-disabilities (including severe autism, cerebral palsy, and Down’s syndrome) who spend regular time in specialised residential care settings, given the increased risk of outbreaks in these settings.

Recommendations on vaccinating children with other underlying conditions will likely come after the initial roll-out phase, by which time there will be significant data from adult vaccinations to be able to analyse the risks and benefits.

Therefore for now, this issue should not be a concern for parents. It remains far more important to keep up to date with all of your child’s health checks and immunisations including the flu vaccine, especially at this time of year.

A year like no other.

If any of us were in any doubt about the importance of being connected to the people around us, this year’s events have certainly brought it home. This year has seen many positive changes in the Practice as we have adapted to deal with the unexpected and keep our services accessible and safe for everyone.

  • Remote consultations are now well established and still receiving great feedback. 
  • Precautions in clinics continue to keep the virus from our door and have made attending clinics safe. The toughest compromise in my opinion, has been allowing only one parent to attend the clinic with their child. The hospitals have remained very firm on this policy and I am very grateful to parents for their understanding and recognising it is for everyone’s safety.
  • First aid training classes are now up and running successfully with new sessions added into the New Year thanks to their growing popularity. Please pass on the details to other parents, grandparents and all carers. You can book onto a class by emailing firstaidtraining@doctoryiannis.com. Thank you to Ronan Ging for running these classes. Feedback has been excellent, with a recent example below.

‘After the session, I can confidently say that we are ready to handle any emergency. The presentation was very informative and interactive providing enough practice to have the new information sink in. Highly recommended to every parent looking for extra knowledge to keep their baby safe.’

An exciting announcement of our own.

On a positive note, I am pleased to welcome another Paediatrician, Dr Charles Stewart, who is joining the practice to run a regular Friday morning clinic at the Bupa Cromwell Hospital and to cover other times throughout the year, when I am not available. This will provide greater appointment availability and choice for parents and continuity of care.

Dr Stewart is a trusted colleague from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, an excellent general paediatrician also specialising in emergency paediatrics and sports medicine. I am very excited to be working with Dr Stewart and expanding our clinics to include looking after minor injuries and fractures in children.

More on this and other positive changes to the Practice, supporting you to keep your child healthy will follow in the New Year. Watch this space.

Wishing you Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

If you have a few moments please take a look at my charity of choice, Little Village, who donate clothes and toys to vulnerable families in the community.

Thank you again for messages of support throughout this extraordinary year. With the families’ permission I have included two recent cards received, to end on an upbeat and festive note. Thank you… they really made me smile!

Thanks BW aged 3 years and parents for this great drawing and card

The Three Musketeers! Merry Christmas to you!

I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and I look forward to seeing you again the New Year. 

Dr Yiannis and all the team. 

Further resources:

Covid-19 vaccine and children from gov.uk

Green Book provisional guidance subject to MHRA approval of each vaccine

Find out more about Little village charity

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