Canadian Health Officer Pushes Vaccines For Kids With Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Warning

Naveen Athrappully
By Naveen Athrappully
December 25, 2022Canada
Canadian Health Officer Pushes Vaccines For Kids With Mrs. Claus’ Christmas Warning
Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, on Dec. 1, 2020. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)

The Canadian government is pushing a pro-COVID-19 vaccine message targeted at children through a Christmas feature with Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam holding a talk with “Mrs. Clause,” promoting vaccines and boosters even as their effectiveness remains dubious.

In a 2-minute interview, Tam makes her “yearly call” to the North Pole for “Santa’s holiday health check,” following which “Mrs. Clause” appears onscreen and says that her heart gets warm to see “everyone in Canada, especially kids, working so hard to keep the holidays safe and cheerful for all.” Tam then says that it has been a tough season due to “lots of viruses making people sick.”

“Santa and I are feeling as healthy as ever. We are both up-to-date with our vaccinations, including COVID boosters and flu shots,” Mrs. Clause says. She then goes on to read a list that asks the audience to stay up-to-date on their vaccinations, wear masks in crowded indoor places, and wash their hands regularly.

The vaccination push is happening despite the fact that daily new COVID-19 cases in Canada have declined over the year significantly. In the week to Jan. 8, Canadian government COVID-19 data reported a peak for the year of an average number of daily cases over the previous seven days of 40,777. That declined to a low for the year for the week of Nov. 19 of 2,154, and it increased modestly since then but has been steady throughout the month of December between 2,400–2,500.

Vaccinating Children

The Christmas vaccination message comes as Health Canada approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster vaccine for children between the ages of five and 11 years of age in early December. Two months earlier, the agency had approved the vaccine for those 12 years of age and older.

In a Dec. 9 news release, Health Canada called the booster vaccine “safe and effective” among children and insisted that the “benefits outweigh any potential risk.”

Health Canada had earlier approved the Pfizer vaccine for kids between the ages of six months and five years. In July, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos called for vaccinating kids to keep them safe.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) “recommends vaccination against COVID-19 for children as young as 6 months to 5 yrs of age. Vaccinating your child does more than protect them. It helps keep communities safe. I encourage all parents to get their kids vaccinated,” Duclos said in a July 14 tweet.

Vaccine Effectiveness

Despite the push for vaccinating kids against COVID-19, studies show that children may not benefit much from such measures.

A study by researchers from the University of North Carolina showed that the effectiveness of Pfizer’s vaccine against infection turned negative among kids between the ages of five and 11 over time. In addition, no significant advantage was observed among vaccinated and unvaccinated kids in the level of protection they had against COVID-19.

The natural immunity of unvaccinated children was calculated to provide 90.7 percent protection against the infection at two months past infection, and 51 percent protection at five months. For vaccinated kids with natural immunity, these numbers stood at 94.3 percent and 60.9 percent.

Injecting COVID-19 vaccines can lead to injuries as well. Many Canadians have suffered side effects as a result of taking vaccines, including COVID-19 shots. Canada’s Vaccine Injury Support Program has disbursed over $2.7 million to 50 claims since the program began in 2021.

A report by the Auditor General of Canada on Dec. 6 found that about $1 billion worth of unused COVID-19 vaccines in Canada are set to expire by the end of 2022 due to an excess supply acquired by the federal government.  wrote Auditor General Karen Hogan in a performance audit tabled today in the House of Commons.

“We found that the Public Health Agency of Canada was unsuccessful in its efforts to minimize vaccine wastage,” the Auditor General Karen Hogan’s office wrote (pdf) in the performance audit, titled “Report 9: COVID-19 Vaccines.”

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