BDP News | Babies contracting COVID, unvaccinated parents to blame

“If you don’t want to be vac­ci­nat­ed – as I said, I may not agree with the po­si­tion but I re­spect it – but you now have a du­ty to be even more care­ful with hand-wash­ing, mask­ing and keep­ing away from peo­ple. That is your du­ty now,” Deyals­ingh said

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Over the last three months, 14 ba­bies un­der one year have con­tract­ed COVID-19 and 11 of them were younger than three months old.

The star­tling rev­e­la­tion of the fig­ures has prompt­ed the Min­is­ter of Health and the Pae­di­atric So­ci­ety of Trinidad and To­ba­go to again urge adults to get vac­ci­nat­ed in or­der to help re­duce the risk of trans­mit­ting the dis­ease to chil­dren, since they can­not ac­cess vac­cines.

The eye-open­ing in­for­ma­tion came from Min­is­ter Ter­rence Deyals­ingh dur­ing yes­ter­day’s Min­istry of Health COVID-19 vir­tu­al me­dia con­fer­ence.

Deyals­ingh ex­plained that the ba­bies were in­fect­ed by their par­ents, who were un­vac­ci­nat­ed.

These tod­dlers are not go­ing out to work, they are not go­ing here, they are not go­ing there. The virus is ba­si­cal­ly com­ing home and meet­ing them and send­ing them in­to the hos­pi­tal,” the Min­is­ter said.

“On ex­am­i­na­tion, 50 per cent of the par­ents are in fact COVID-pos­i­tive and we don’t have the hard num­ber yet but the vast ma­jor­i­ty (of par­ents)—is what we have been ex­plain­ing to the coun­try – un­vac­ci­nat­ed.”

There are at least 3,400 chil­dren un­der the age of 19 to be in­fect­ed with COVID-19 lo­cal­ly to date, of which four have lost their lives to the dis­ease, he said.

Last Sat­ur­day, the Min­istry re­vealed that a male child was among 28 peo­ple who had died from COVID-19 that day.

Chil­dren who sur­vive COVID-19 are al­so at risk of de­vel­op­ing Mul­ti-Sys­tem In­flam­ma­to­ry Syn­drome in Chil­dren (MIS-C). So far, at least 55 chil­dren lo­cal­ly have de­vel­oped MIS-C.

MIS-C is a con­di­tion where dif­fer­ent body parts can be­come in­flamed, in­clud­ing the heart, lungs, kid­neys, brain, skin, eyes, or gas­troin­testi­nal or­gans.

In Au­gust, Min­is­ter Deyals­ingh spoke about the then in­creas­ing num­ber of chil­dren con­tract­ing COVID. At that time, the fig­ure moved from three in hos­pi­tal to eight in just the space of a week.

Back then, Deyals­ingh ad­mon­ished “par­ty­ing par­ents” for spread­ing COVID-19 to their chil­dren, who in some in­stances had se­vere cas­es of the dis­ease. He al­so said then that vac­ci­na­tion was need­ed to bet­ter pro­tect the na­tion’s young. He re­peat­ed that plea yes­ter­day, say­ing vac­ci­na­tion is a du­ty every­one has as part of so­ci­ety.

“If you don’t want to be vac­ci­nat­ed – as I said, I may not agree with the po­si­tion but I re­spect it – but you now have a du­ty to be even more care­ful with hand-wash­ing, mask­ing and keep­ing away from peo­ple. That is your du­ty now,” Deyals­ingh said.

Con­tact­ed on the is­sue yes­ter­day, Pae­di­atric So­ci­ety pres­i­dent Dr Viren­dra Singh said while the in­ci­dence of death among the de­mo­graph­ic is low­er, it’s still dan­ger­ous for ba­bies to con­tract the dis­ease – es­pe­cial­ly be­cause of MIS-C.

“From the da­ta we have out there so far, is that chil­dren tend to get less se­vere dis­ease but chil­dren still do get a spec­trum of se­vere dis­ease (such) as MIS-C and some of the neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­ease that we are see­ing are lo­cal ev­i­dence that chil­dren have been af­fect­ed by se­vere COVID-19,” Singh said.

Dr Singh said those around chil­dren who can be vac­ci­nat­ed must do so to re­duce the risk of trans­mit­ting the dis­ease to them.

“Vac­ci­na­tion is a way to avoid: 1. con­tract­ing 2. se­vere and 3. spread­ing the dis­ease some­what,” he said.

Dr Singh said pre­cau­tions must be tak­en when the child is in­ter­act­ing with some­one they are not typ­i­cal­ly in con­tact with.

“Peo­ple who…are go­ing to vis­it a new­born or a rel­a­tive who just gave birth to a child, or vis­it rel­a­tives who just have un­vac­ci­nat­able pop­u­la­tions (chil­dren un­der 12) in the house, they should en­sure that they them­selves are vac­ci­nat­ed and take the nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions be­cause chil­dren 0 to 12 years old are just as sus­cep­ti­ble to COVID,” Dr Singh said.

The pub­lic health guide­lines, such as mask-wear­ing, so­cial dis­tanc­ing and hand wash­ing, must al­so be strict­ly ad­hered to re­gard­less of vac­ci­na­tion sta­tus, he said.