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“Vaccines for 12-year-olds, which side are the doctors on?”

TORONTO – We publish a letter to the Italian newspaper Corriere Canadese from a parent whose child suffers from trypanophobia, the fear of needles, and cannot get him vaccinated because pediatricians, faced with the child’s resistance, refuse to do so.

We are two years into this pandemic, most children under 12 in this country haven’t been vaccinated yet. When Pfizer was granted the ok to begin production and distribution of their vaccine last November, the United Nations first claimed the vaccine should only be given to the most vulnerable or most at risk. As time passed, with pressure from the Medical Profession and Pharmaceutical companies around the world, the availability of the vaccine was varied to include any adults 8 and over.

It wasn’t until May of 2021 that the vaccine was approved for children 12 years of age and older in Canada. The United Nations still claims that the vaccine is for high-risk populations, yet each nation’s government should exercise their own policy under emergency needs. 

Has any policy maker, round table medical professional or healthcare worker in Ontario asked themselves what their vaccine policy for ages 11 and up has done to the psyche, physical and social welfare of these children (Myocarditis issues aside)?

Many pediatricians haven’t seen their patients since before the lockdown. My child hasn’t. Can’t. Individual pediatricians have made policies that they will not treat children who have not had the Covid 19 vaccine. So, my child cannot be treated by our pediatrician except via telephone or emergency room care. Many children suffer from a fear of needles – trypanophobia – for those at the Ontario round table who need the scientific term. It is a phobia that stems from a fear of being punctured or injured. It impedes the individual from seeking medical care when needed. 

This is not an anti-vax issue. I am an agreeable parent trying to get the vaccine for their child.  A child that needs to go back to being outside the house and to enjoy physical activity – so desperately needed after a year and more locked inside. 

Each time I have taken my child to a vaccine clinic I have seen children cry silently, nervously as their parents coach them on. For some, like me, there is nothing to do. 
The nurses at the clinics are kind, gentle and have offered such advice to freeze the arm ahead of time with over-the-counter treatments – freezing or gel agents, Benadryl to calm them down; at one clinic, they suggested we could bring our puppy next time if it helped with distraction. With no success, I turned back to our pediatrician who prescribed lorazepam – the generic form of Ativan – a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety. 

As a parent of a child who has not been sick with Covid 19 or anything else since November 2019, but is trying to have their child vaccinated to ” benefit everyone else” why is medication the only solution here?  Why are the doctors at the clinic standing there impatient with my child who is refusing the vaccine?  

All five times that I have brought my child to “try to get the vaccine” I have asked the doctor overseeing my child “why do you ask for his consent knowing he will say no?” Why are parents intimidated into bringing their children to get vaccinated for everyone else’s benefit, but you stop the moment the child does not give consent?  How are these children supposed to play sports, do extracurriculars and get out of the house if you won’t give them the vaccine because a 12-year-old doesn’t consent?  Why do I need to subject my child to being “drugged” to get to the vaccine clinic and the second he squirms you stop? Is this vaccine mandatory or not?”

I have never received an answer from any of the five doctors to whom I have posed the questions. Most remained silent. Of course, the parent is right and more importantly, they aren’t trained to be in confrontational situations.  If dealing with a parent who has been frustratingly trying to do what the Ontario Covid 19 roundtable has asked, then that’s not confrontational; that’s a well educated, properly adjusted adult human being pointing out the obvious to which everyone at these clinics, medical staff included, agrees. 

My child cannot enter a theatre, join house league sports, or join our family at a restaurant on a Saturday afternoon because he is not vaccinated, but his 10-year-old sibling can – unvaccinated.   

Moreover, my child can attend school unvaccinated. 

I ask the Ontario Medical Association, the Ford Government, Dr. Tam, Dr. D’Davilla, who are you really trying to protect? 

A parent

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

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