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Covid: how to protect a child up to 5 years old, who still cannot be vaccinated

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  • André Biernath – @andre_biernath
  • From BBC News Brazil to London

masked child plays at school

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As there is still no covid vaccine available for young children, the recommendation is to strengthen other preventive care

Parents and guardians of children under five face a real dilemma in this time of pandemic. On the one hand, they are witnessing the end of virtually all the restrictions that have marked the past two years, such as the use of masks and the prevention of crowds in closed places. On the other hand, Brazil still does not have an approved covid vaccine for use at such a young age – Pfizer can only be applied from the fifth year of life, and CoronaVac from the sixth. .

In practice, this represents a double risk: these children are naturally more exposed to contagion and do not have access to vaccines, the only products capable of better preparing the immune system to fight the coronavirus and its consequences in the body.

The solution, guarantee the experts heard by BBC News Brasil, is to combine a series of care and strategies, such as keeping the vaccinations of the rest of the family up to date, encouraging the use of child-friendly masks in closed places, discussing of certain changes in the hours of entry and recess in schools, ensure air circulation in classrooms and do not take the child with symptoms of respiratory infection (such as flu, covid or the common cold) in places where he interacts with other people. We will detail each of these recommendations throughout the report.

And, even though covid is generally less severe in the first years of life, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t cause hospitalizations and child deaths. By the end of 2021, Brazil had recorded 1,449 deaths of boys and girls up to 11 years old linked to the coronavirus. The data comes from a report released by the National Council of Health Secretariesthe Conas.

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