Parent Argues NB Should Be More Transparent About COVID-19 Cases Among Young People | The Canadian News

With more COVID-19 cases reported in New Brunswick schools and daycare centers on Thursday, a parent of two elementary school students says more information about the virus should be available in New Brunswick.

“Very, very little specific information is provided, especially in the younger ages, especially those who cannot get vaccinated,” says John Gunn of Riverview, NB.

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The province reports positive tests by age in its data panel and classifies the youngest data as under 10 years old, but only provides information for people under 19 years old in press releases.

That’s why Gunn, the father of two boys, one nearly 5 and the other 7, calculates data daily to see how many new cases are reported among the younger demographic.

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But he still believes that information should be provided to those under 12 years of age, most of whom are not eligible to receive a vaccine. New Brunswick previously expanded eligibility to allow 11-year-olds who turn 12 this year to be vaccinated.

On Monday, Department of Education spokesman Flavio Nienow told Global News that 27 schools in the province were, at the time, “currently affected by COVID-19 cases.”

Since then, 17 schools have reported cases, including some that were previously affected, according to provincial press releases.

On Thursday, Public Health spokesman Bruce Macfarlane wrote in an emailed statement, “As of September 23, there are 106 (18.5%) active cases among those who are ineligible for vaccination due to their age.”

Still, the vast majority of cases are among unvaccinated adults.

But Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease physician in Halifax, says that as community cases increase, so will school cases.

“As the virus in the community increases, the school cases, and don’t forget that it is about people, children who contract COVID-19, they will increase,” she says.

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“Although it is rare for children to get very, very sick, some of them will and that percentage will turn into a higher number of cases if we let the virus get too high.”

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New Brunswick Public Health said Wednesday that no one under the age of 19 was hospitalized with COVID-19.

Barrett agrees, where possible, it would be beneficial to include data from youth who are not eligible for vaccination.

“It would be nice to know what the number of cases is in that population of people because, to the point, people who are not independently vaccinated transmit the virus more easily than those who are vaccinated,” she says.

“It can provide additional information to people in the community, however, I will say that I always follow Public Health advice.”

She says that if that level of detail cannot be provided, it is important to hear about school shoots.

Click to play video: 'Concerns for Students as COVID-19 Situation in New Brunswick Worsens'

Concerns for students as COVID-19 situation worsens in New Brunswick

Concerns for students as COVID-19 situation worsens in New Brunswick

Nova Scotia officials don’t publicly share when school cases are confirmed, but New Brunswick does.

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However, Nova Scotia Health Medical Director Dr. Robert Strang previously recognized the importance of sharing case data for children under 12 with the wider community.

“It’s an absolutely legitimate piece that we have to break that down,” he said on Sept. 8.

As a result, Nova Scotia now shares the cumulative case count for children under 12 online.

Barrett says the current variants are more dangerous and transmittable.

“The Delta variant is dominant in Canada right now, along with its close cousin, the Delta-like variant, both of which have the ability to spread exquisitely well and cause more disease,” she says.

“And not just among young people, but among all people in Canada right now, this most dangerous and most communicable variant is common.”

Read more:

27 NB schools ‘currently affected’ by COVID-19 cases, says department

Barrett says the Pfizer vaccine could be approved for children ages 5 to 11 by Christmas, but cautions that if there is only one producer at the beginning of approval, there could be supply problems in the early stages.

Meanwhile, Gunn has been watching clinical trials as “reviews by hundreds of experts.”

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“It is very important to understand what the risks are on the side of vaccination, but what I think is missing is a true understanding of what the risks are on the side of choosing not to vaccinate,” he says.

“It is impossible to make a proper risk decision if you don’t know what the precise risks are on both sides.”

Gunn says he “believes strongly in vaccination” and is looking to the future when eligibility could be expanded.

“As much as my kids ask daily when they can get vaccinated to protect the community, I have nothing but plans to take them to their vaccines the moment they are eligible and approved by Health Canada.”

Click to play video: 'Pfizer Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Is Safe For Children 5-11 Years Old'

Pfizer Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Is Safe For Children Ages 5 To 11

Pfizer Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Is Safe For Children Ages 5 To 11

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