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For parents, the dilemma of vaccinating children under 12 against Covid-19

“Stop taking children for guinea pigs”, “The risk-benefit balance is not clear enough”, “Children hardly risk anything”… While the High Authority for Health (HAS) recommends, in its opinion of November 30, to vaccinate as a priority children under 12 at risk of severe forms of Covid-19 or living in the entourage of vulnerable people, and procrastinate for others, the reactions to the call for testimonies published on Lemonde.fr were lively and numerous, the vast majority from parents rejecting the prospect of having their child under 12 vaccinated against the virus altogether.

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All the arguments against these vaccines seem to be exacerbated when it comes to injecting them into young students, a population in which the incidence rate has exploded for a month, exceeding, on November 26, 600 new weekly infections per 100 000 people. A level never reached in this age category.

More than two thirds (62%) of parents of children aged 6-12 are not in favor of their vaccination, according to the preliminary results of the second survey from the Slavaco project conducted by Jeremy Ward, sociologist at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm), between September 22 and 1is October. At the same time, however, “There is strong concern among parents at the idea that their child will contract Covid-19 at school”, writes the sociologist.

“Concentrate efforts on people at high risk”

Among the arguments put forward, the dominant one is undoubtedly the idea that children would pay the price for the selfishness of the elderly and vulnerable who have chosen not to be vaccinated. Anne, 44, a senior civil servant in Bordeaux, who requires anonymity, shares this opinion and thinks that “Children are instrumentalized in this epidemic”. Despite everything, she and her partner decided that they would get their 9-year-old daughter vaccinated as soon as possible.

Read the decryption: Should children under 12 be vaccinated? Update on what we know about the benefits and risks

“If we had been able to make a real choice with confidence, we would have waited a year to see the data in other countries, Anne admits. It is the epidemic resumption that convinces us, as well as the absence of effective mechanisms at school to protect children. “ La Bordelaise cites the absence of regular and effective screening but also the lack of rigor of adults when it comes to wearing a mask. Vaccination then presents itself as the only recourse to live more peacefully, especially since her daughter wishes to have access to it.

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