More than 10 thousand adolescents were vaccinated against COVID-19 in the Republic of Moldova

Health experts recommend parents to make informed decisions

UNICEF
Experții în sănătate le recomandă părinților să ia decizii informate
UNICEF Moldova
23 February 2022

Since november last year vaccination of adolescents against the new coronavirus has been possible in the Republic of Moldova. Over 10 thousand children aged 12–17 have already been vaccinated during three months. Some parents have chosen to vaccinate their children to protect them, others are still undecided. Health experts draw attention to the large number of children infected with COVID-19 and urge parents to get relevant information from reliable sources to make an informed decision.

In the Republic of Moldova, vaccination of children against COVID-19 is allowed since 18 November 2021, when the Ministry of Health announced the conditions and the serum that will be used for vaccination: children are vaccinated in the healthcare facilities only, at the parents’ request, not at the mobile units. Since then, 5,683 children were vaccinated with the first dose and 3,649 children with the second dose. According to the data of the Ministry of Health, in total, 2% of all children are fully vaccinated. Other 50 children also received a booster, i.e. the third dose, some being vaccinated with the first and second doses abroad.

Some parents have been waiting for the ‘permission’ for vaccination

Parents have opposing views on the vaccination of children. Veronica Balaban from Căuşeni says that her son, aged 15, was the first vaccinated adolescent in the town. She wasn’t afraid to immunise her child as she experienced the disease and knows what the consequences can be: ‘At first I got vaccinated, then, my husband, and subsequently we decided to vaccinate Daniel as well. We see that this virus spares no one, whether they are elderly or young’. She adds that she made inquiries first: ‘Yes, people are skeptical and there are many fakes about vaccines, but I believe that no vaccine can be used without the approval of the competent authorities. Before the vaccination, we got informed, consulted with the family doctor, went for a check-up, Daniel’s temperature and blood pressure were measured. He coped with the vaccine very well, having only a little fever. Now we know that if he gets sick, he will withstand the illness more easily. I experienced COVID-19 and I know what it is’.

Another parent, Igori Rotari from Chişinau, says that he waited for the decision of the Ministry of Health approving the vaccination of children. His 13-year-old son Leo is now immunised. ‘There were, there are and there will be parents who are against all vaccines, I mean not only the anti-COVID vaccine. It will probably be harder to convince this category of parents to immunise their children. But, I hope that at least parents who got all the regular vaccines according to age will consider logical to receive this vaccine and to protect their child’, Igor Rotari says.

Parents should base their decisions on rational arguments

However, there are parents who still hesitate. Maria Cioban from Bursuc village, Florești district, has not yet decided to vaccinate her 12-year-old daughter. Parents’ hesitation to vaccinate their children stems from the fear of the unknown, says psychotherapist Ana Niculaeș. ‘Everything new generates fear. It is natural, given that there is no precedent yet in history. People are afraid, so they need to be helped by explaining that vaccination does not put children at risk. When we show them examples that other vaccinated children are doing well, facing no side effects and the infection rates decrease, including due to vaccination, the anxiety level lowers’, says the psychotherapist, stressing that it would be better for parents to base their decisions on rational arguments, not on rumours and speculations published on the Internet.

Children are infected including by unvaccinated parents

Ludmila Bîrca, pediatrician, infectious diseases specialist and director of the Municipal Clinical Hospital for Contagious Diseases for Children: This is the problem, child contracts the disease from parents who has no protection. That’s why it’s important to vaccinate parents first, and, then, they should vaccinate their children over 12 years of age, where possible. These children have mild forms, but they bring Omicron home and infect younger children, who are at risk of experiencing serious forms’, Ludmila Bîrca explains. She urges parents to show responsibility, not to believe in fakes and to follow the example of people from other countries where vaccination rates among adolescents are higher:

Are there any conditions that may be a contraindication to the vaccination of children?

The World Health Organization, the European Medicines Agency and the Moldovan Ministry of Health recommend to vaccinate children against the new coronavirus, especially those most exposed to illness or with chronic diseases. Children are vaccinated only at the request of the parent, guardian or legal representative.

Vaccination is contraindicated only for people who have severe allergies to any vaccine component. The COVID-19 vaccine recommended for the immunisation of children does not contain latex or preservatives.

An article written by the Independent Press Association!