Paediatricians have allayed unnecessary fears about the possible impact of a third wave of COVID-19 in children.
Participants who spoke at a national conference on paediatric COVID-19 held here on Saturday and Sunday said there was no reason to delay vaccination among children as they were unlikely to get side-effects like elders. The event was held by the Department of Paediatrics, Government Medical College, Kozhikode, in association with the Kozhikode Branch of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Health Mission.
The doctors said that social media was rife with rumours and discussions about the impact of the third wave. There was a natural chance of unvaccinated children getting infected because all those above 18 were getting the jab. That was just an inference and not a theory based on the change in virulence of the virus or its genetic structure. Compared with elders, children so far had rarely shown acute symptoms. It was yet to be scientifically proven whether the situation would change in the coming days, they pointed out.
The participants also urged the government and the society to address COVID-induced socio-psychological issues in children. They said many children had lost their parents. Some others had lost their means of livelihood. There were children who faced psychological problems owing to online education, and some were facing physical and mental torture from their parents. The impact of excessive use of social media was another problem, the participants said. They suggested that local bodies could try to sort them out.
Opening the conference, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday said the State government was committed to implementing practical suggestions on the socio-health issues faced by children due to COVID-19. Minister for Health and Family Welfare Veena George asked the organisers to submit a gist of the deliberations at the conference with key recommendations to be acted upon. Thottathil Raveendran, MLA, was present.
The speakers included Sudhir Gupta, who established the Foundation for Primary Immune Deficiency Diseases, the U.S.; Condino–Neto of University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Kishore Chandran of Nottingham University Hospitals, the U.K.; Siddharth Ramji of Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi; Priyankar Pal of Institute of Child Health, Kolkata; Vinod Scaria, Principal Scientist, CSIR–Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi; and Tanu Singhal of Kokilaben Hospital, Mumbai.