TESTIMONIALS. The vaccination of children against Covid-19 is “obvious” for these parents: “They are the ones who are paying the high price for this epidemic”

“Is that it? Is it okay? Can I get the vaccine?” exclaims James, 11, from the back seat of his mother’s car, which takes him to college, in Divonne-les-Bains (Ain). Not yet. On the radio, this Friday, December 17, a journalist announces that the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE) approves the opening of vaccination for all children from 5 to 11 years old. A few days later, on December 22, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, confirms: “Today we are opening vaccination for children, it’s official.” This is the news that James’s mother, Clio, was waiting for, as well as many parents who responded to the call for testimonials launched by franceinfo.

“We did not force Bérangère *, assures Jeanne *, it was her choice, she was the one who clearly told us that she wanted to be vaccinated. “ From the top of her eight years, the schoolgirl regularly asks her parents questions about the virus and vaccines. The family lives in Legé (Loire-Atlantique) where the little girl “has an asthmatic boyfriend”. “The first waves caused a lot of damage to the families of his comrades, two of whom have lost all their grandparents “, says his mother.

“For me there is no doubt: the virus is more dangerous than the vaccine and I am confident in the benefit that this kind of vaccination brings to the population.”

Jeanne, mother of Bérangère

to franceinfo

The concern around this virus is all the greater in the family as an uncle of Jeanne died of Covid-19, at the age of 55. “It marks the spirits”, remarks this mother who has learned at length about the manufacturing process of messenger RNA vaccines.

James is “hurry” to receive her first dose of Covid-19 vaccine assures her mother, too “impatient”. Since his return to sixth grade and the incessant reminder of health rules by his teachers “James is more anxious about the virus”, says Clio, who herself has already received her vaccination booster. “I am provaccinated in general, but here all the more, because I want to protect my children and avoid the appearance of new variants”, justifies this mother of a large family. Before putting forward one last reason “totally selfish” : “My husband is Australian and without vaccination we will not be able to go back to see his parents. So the sooner everyone gets vaccinated, the sooner my children will see their grandparents again.”

In the South-West, in Fleurance (Gers), it is the same eagerness that drives 8-year-old Daphné. She did not hesitate “just one second” to tell her parents that she wanted to be vaccinated. “Because she doesn’t want to get sick herself, explains his mother, Estelle. Most of all, she wants this to end. “ For almost two years, “It is the children who are ultimately paying the price for this epidemic with such a different life”, she laments.

If for the parents, who responded to our call for testimonials, vaccinating children against the virus is a “evidence”, the question of extending vaccination to all children from 5 years old is causing debate. On the parents’ side, “7 out of 10 respondents” say they are opposed to vaccinating their children, according to a recent Elabe poll for The Express and BFMTV.

Among the arguments of skeptics, the fact that the youngest develop very little the disease and even less severe forms, which minimizes the individual benefit of vaccinated children. “We are far from the American situation where, in particular because of the very high obesity rate among the youngest, obesity which is a risk factor, their vaccination has an obvious interest”, recalled the infectious disease specialist Gilles Pialoux, on franceinfo, on November 26. The benefit of such a campaign, which concerns more than five million children, is rather on the side of the collective. It would increase the vaccination coverage rate of the population, and therefore reduce viral circulation, “even if only 30% of them [des 5-11 ans] are vaccinated “, according to epidemiologist Dominique Costagliola, from Inserm.

Sandra, mother of Eliote, 10, “long thought” before making a decision. “Neither I nor my son are in danger of getting a serious form”, assures this resident of Hourtin (Nouvelle-Aquitaine) who reports having “very bad” experienced the adverse effects associated with his vaccination. She still prefers to take the plunge so that she can go on vacation and prevent her son from having to take tests too often. “And then I prefer to anticipate the arrival of a possible health pass for children and not deprive my son of sporting and cultural activities in the future”, she argues.

It was also the total cessation of swimming in clubs and at school that got the better of Ayla, 8 years old, last February. Since then, the young girl has gone through sessions with the psychologist before recently finding her way back to the swimming pool. “I would not have thought that this lack of sport would affect him so much, besides the fact of not seeing his friends from other classes in the playground and the anxiety of infecting us.”, notes his mother, Marion. A recent study carried out by Unicef ​​on 25,000 children aged 6 to 18 in France, confirms the psychological effects of the health crisis on children: “76.6% of respondents indicate that they sometimes feel sad or gloomy, 53.3% have no taste for anything and 64.2% lose confidence in themselves.”

“The benefit of this vaccination is clearly the preservation of the mental health of my daughters. This virus is a huge mental burden on a little girl, vaccinating it will take it off, I hope.”

Marion, mother of Ayla

to franceinfo

When Marion suggested that Ayla and her big sister Myla, 10, be vaccinated, the smaller one spontaneously replied: “Yes I want! I’m sick of closed classes and taking tests.” “As soon as there is a new restriction in school or in sport, Ayla cannot stand it anymore”, she notes bitterly. However, since December 6, the health protocol in schools has gone back to level three with the return of the wearing of masks in the playground and the non-mixing of classes. Moreover, faced with the resurgence of positive cases in the school of Ayla, in Lyon (Rhône-Alpes), Marion decided to withdraw her daughter from the canteen “so that it is not a contact case”.

Now, these families are looking for a pediatric vaccination niche “as soon as possible”. “I started looking where there were free vaccines, no matter where”, explains Marion. “At the beginning of November, we were in the United States, we could have had our daughters vaccinated there like their 10-year-old cousin did, but I did not know if their vaccine was going to be recognized in France”, she says.

Clio, she even looks towards Switzerland to quickly find an appointment, because her children also benefit from Swiss social security. “But there is nothing until January.” Medical desert requires, Estelle, Daphne’s mother, will fall back on the first available slot in a vaccination center or in a pharmacy around Fleurance. “For my daughter as for us, it’s something normal, she trivializes. It’s just one more vaccine. “

* The first names have been changed at the request of the interested parties

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