From idea to reality: COVID‑19 Vaccination for Children and Youth

Maguire, Jonathon L | $496,871

Ontario Unity Health Toronto 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

COVID‑19 vaccines for children and youth will soon be available. While serious acute ilness in children is rare, it can occur, underscoring the importance of vaccinating children and youth against COVID-19. Further, children and youth represent 21% of the Canadian population so vaccinating children and youth against COVID‑19 is necessary for population-wide immunity. There are numerous unknowns including vaccine immune response, side effects, degree of protection for future COVID‑19 infection among children and youth in addition to the perceptions of parents and healthcare providers about vaccinating healthy children and youth against COVID-19. In April 2020, we directed Canada’s largest ongoing children’s cohort study, TARGet Kids!, to understand the effects of COVID‑19 on Canadian children and families. We conducted surveillance involving 1123 children to understand SARS-CoV-2 infection and symptoms, risk factors for infection, physical and mental health status and seroprevalence among children and their parents. We propose to build upon this work to understand COVID‑19 vaccine effectiveness and safety among 2000 children and youth age 0-16 years and their parents. We will also understand COVID‑19 vaccine uptake and use qualitative methods to understand COVID‑19 vaccine hesitancy and decision-making among parents and healthcare providers. Rapid evaluation with a specific focus on children, youth and their parents will provide high-quality evidence to guide family-based policy interventions for COVID‑19 vaccination for children. This study will provide needed information to inform vaccination policies for children and youth, provide confidence about COVID‑19 vaccine effectiveness and safety for children and youth and contribute to a high degree of vaccine uptake so that society can return to normal functioning.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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