Health

Create an immune barrier for children to prepare for school – VnExpress


Children need to be fully vaccinated to prevent infectious diseases that are easily spread in schools and create “non-specific cross-immunity” against Covid-19.

Information was shared by Doctor Truong Huu Khanh – Former Head of the Department of Infection – Neurology, Children’s Hospital 1, Ho Chi Minh City and specialist doctor I Bach Thi Chinh – Medical Director of VNVC Immunization Center System, shared at the meeting. Online seminar “Vaccination for children to go to school safely” on December 2, broadcast on VnExpress. In the program, two experts mentioned the health risks when children are preparing to return to school and gave recommendations and advice to help schools and families effectively prevent diseases for children during the epidemic. Covid-19.

Doctor Truong Huu Khanh (centre) and specialist doctor I Bach Thi Chinh (far right) shared at the online talk show “Vaccinations for children to go to school safely” on December 2. Photo: Quynh Tran

Risk of children co-infected with Covid-19 and other diseases

Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and some provinces plan to open schools so that students of some grades and classes can return to school from December. In the context of the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic, Dr. Truong Huu Khanh said or the possibility of children becoming F0 in school is inevitable. However, as recorded in countries around the world and Vietnam so far, young children with Covid-19 are mostly in mild condition. Meanwhile, children are also at risk of contracting other dangerous diseases due to staying at home for too long, not going out, not having social contact, so they have no immunity.

“We often pay too much attention to Covid-19 that ignores many other diseases. There are diseases that keep coming up. The causative agent of the disease follows two different paths, so the possibility of having two diseases at the same time is There are children hospitalized thinking it’s Covid-19 but in fact they have severe dengue fever, or 2-3 overlapping diseases,” said Dr. Khanh.

Explaining more about this issue, Doctor Bach Thi Chinh said that besides Covid-19, children at school, especially preschool children, are very susceptible to other respiratory diseases. “It can be vaccine-preventable diseases such as diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, pneumococcal disease, measles, mumps, rubella…, as well as diseases for which there is no vaccine to prevent such as hand, foot and mouth disease, dengue fever, etc. could happen,” warned Doctor Chinh.

The reason is that in crowded environments such as schools, infectious diseases are easily spread when children come into contact with each other. Especially in boarding and boarding schools, students eat together and sleep together. In addition to the direct route of infection through droplets, children are also at risk of infection when touching contact surfaces with droplets containing the virus.

“Another reason why school-aged children are susceptible to disease is that immunity from childhood vaccines has been reduced. Under 2 years of age, children are usually fully vaccinated under the National Expanded Immunization Program. However, in the past 2 years, Covid-19 has also disrupted the vaccination process, causing many children not to be fully vaccinated, and antibodies in the body to decrease. If vaccination is interrupted, children are easily infected at school. Diseases such as diphtheria and measles can all become epidemics if children are not fully vaccinated or do not receive booster shots,” said Doctor Chinh.

Specialist doctor I Bach Thi Chinh shared at the online seminar Vaccination for children to go to school safely on December 2.  Photo: Quynh Tran

Specialist doctor I Bach Thi Chinh shared at the online seminar “Vaccinations for children to go to school safely” on December 2. Photo: Quynh Tran

Fully vaccinated to create ‘immune shield’ for children

Faced with the risk that children may contract many diseases when their contact increases, Dr. Truong Huu Khanh said that schools must meet their own epidemic prevention standards when reopening. The functional departments, schools and families also need to develop a good response scenario in case a case is detected.

“With common diseases, when an infected case is detected, it is necessary to isolate the child, clean and disinfect. If the child has not been vaccinated, it should be fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Khanh. “With Covid-19, how to handle when F0 is detected at school is currently unclear and must depend on the specific situation. For example, if all the adults in the child’s family have been If you get 2 doses of the vaccine, you don’t need to worry too much. Most of the children with Covid-19 are mild, except for those who are in special subjects such as overweight and have underlying diseases, “said Dr. Khanh.

According to Doctor Bach Thi Chinh, before children go back to school, the health sector and the education sector need to work closely to guide the school’s disease prevention, organize training for administrators, medical staff, teachers how to report and handle when detecting cases. For diseases for which there is no vaccine such as dengue fever, hand, foot and mouth disease, it is necessary to proactively guide children to prevent diseases by maintaining personal hygiene, environmental hygiene, limiting close contact, arranging eating and sleeping places. Make sure to keep your distance, wear a mask properly. For diseases that have been vaccinated against, at the beginning of the school year, the school needs to check the children’s immunization records to see if they have been vaccinated and guide parents to take their children for full vaccinations.

“Children 4-6 years old and older are the group that is easily forgotten about vaccination, causing an ‘immunity gap’. There are groups of diseases that keep coming up again and again such as chickenpox, measles – mumps – rubella, diphtheria, and diphtheria. – whooping cough – tetanus – polio There are also diseases outside the National Expanded Immunization Program such as pneumococcal, meningococcal, Japanese encephalitis. only protects children up to 2-3 years old. After 4 years of age, parents should check to see what vaccines their children need to be vaccinated against, which ones are missing and need to be compensated for, “said Doctor Chinh.

According to Doctor Truong Huu Khanh, vaccination against diseases also plays a role in creating “specific cross-immunity for children in preventing and mitigating the effects of Covid-19.

“When a child is infected with Covid-19, the child may be attacked by other agents that make the disease worse, such as pneumococcal disease and influenza. Therefore, during the time when the child has not been vaccinated against Covid-19, it is necessary to inject the above preventive vaccines to create a positive effect. Immune support for the child’s body, preventing superinfection, Dr. Khanh explained.

Doctor Truong Huu Khanh shared at the online seminar Vaccination for children to go to school safely on December 2.  Photo: Quynh Tran

Doctor Truong Huu Khanh shared at the online seminar “Vaccinations for children to go to school safely” on December 2. Photo: Quynh Tran

Two experts advise parents not to worry too much about the side effects of vaccines that make children lose the opportunity to be vaccinated.

“Any vaccine can cause side effects such as hot swelling, redness, pain at the injection site, fever, loss of appetite, fatigue. These reactions usually go away after a few days and can be experienced by anyone, depending on the type of vaccine. Therefore, adults should not worry too much about affecting children’s psychology,” said Doctor Bach Thi Chinh.

Before vaccination, parents should give their children a normal diet, adequate nutrition, and appropriate exercise for good health. After vaccination, children need to stay at the vaccination center for 30 minutes to monitor normal signs and handle them promptly. Anaphylactoid reactions can occur after vaccination but are very rare, only about one in a million and if treated promptly, children can completely return to normal without any sequelae.

“Vaccines are the most effective weapon to prevent infectious diseases. Herd immunity is not waiting for the sick child to recover on their own to have immunity, but it is necessary to use the value of the vaccine to protect the whole community. While most adults have been vaccinated against Covid-19 and the majority of children have not been vaccinated with this vaccine, please inject the vaccines at the right age for children, so that children are surrounded by ‘shields’ to protect their health, prevent diseases at risk of outbreak when going back to school,” said Doctor Chinh.

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