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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Children get COVID-19 more and more severely

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Pediatric wards are filling up – children are getting more sick with COVID-19 than in previous waves of the pandemic. Ewelina Gowin, pediatrician and infectious diseases specialist from Poznań, tells about a teenager who was hospitalized with symptoms of respiratory tract infection, with a cough, fever and trouble breathing. – With the advancement of hospitalization, these symptoms worsened to such an extent that the girl, sitting on the bed – because this was the only position she could stay in, because she breathed better – could not lie down, she could not even speak – she says. Unfortunately, there are more and more such cases. Material of the magazine “Polska i Świat”.

The Covid children’s ward at the Stefan Żeromski Hospital in Kraków is filled with patients. To accept an infected child, the others must be discharged. – Paramedics from ambulances call us that they are in children with saturation 70 percent, 60 percent and that they are going to us. We have a short time to make room for such a child – says the head of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Paediatrics Lidia Stopyra.

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Recently, even a few-hour-old baby has been brought here. A dozen or so children are admitted here daily, and they are in a much worse condition than in the previous waves. “What was rare in children before: respiratory distress such that we have to use invasive ventilation equipment is now becoming commonplace,” emphasizes Stopyra.

More and more cases of children requiring oxygen therapy

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Dr hab. Ewelina Gowin, a pediatrician and an infectious disease specialist from Poznań, tells about a teenager who was hospitalized with symptoms of a respiratory tract infection with a cough, fever and trouble breathing.

– As the hospitalization progressed, these symptoms worsened to such an extent that the girl, sitting on the bed – because this was the only position she could stay in, because she breathed better – could not lie down, she could not even speak. The mere fact of saying a few words was too much of an effort for her – she says.

More and more cases of children requiring oxygen therapyShutterstock

The girl needed high-flow oxygen therapy. – Unfortunately, the whole family has not been vaccinated, she is 16 years old and, of course, has not been vaccinated – she adds.

This is a typical patient profile in covid children’s wards: unvaccinated adolescents and younger patients – mostly children of unvaccinated adults. – They care, they want the best for their children. But they find false, stupid information on the Internet and begin to hesitate. They do not vaccinate children, and then they have to watch their child fight for every breath – says Stopyra.

Vaccination of children 5-11 years old against COVID-19 is underway

From June, it is possible to vaccinate adolescents from the age of 12. Now the European Medicines Agency has approved the vaccine for children from 5 to 11 years of age. The Pfizer preparation for younger children is 1/3 of the “adult” dose.

– We expect that the delivery will be within December 13-15, but we are waiting for confirmation that it will be a delivery of 1.1 million doses of the vaccine – says spokesman for the Ministry of Health Wojciech Andrusiewicz.

The fourth wave attacks the unvaccinated, and without the vaccine, younger children will remain vulnerable, the doctors explain. – The vaccine in the child population is very effective, over 90 percent. This is the element that we know that it can protect children, first of all, from getting sick, but also from the severe consequences of COVID-19 – points out Karolina Pyziak-Kowalska, a specialist in infectious diseases.

Research shows that vaccine reactions in this age group are mild – mainly pain at the injection site, feeling worse, muscle pain. – What else I hear from my parents is the question of the effect on fertility. This is some new vaccine invention, especially mRNA. No studies have confirmed the effect on fertility in adults and children – emphasizes Pyziak-Kowalska.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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