BHOPAL: The parents of Shubhrika, 14, were surprised when she suddenly started complaining of breathlessness and said that she had contracted Covid-19. They tried to reason with her that, as she had not left home for more than a month, there was no possibility of her getting the disease.
Shubhrika, however, was sure that she had become Covid-positive. To convince her, they first took her to a testing centre where she gave her sample for an RT-PCR test. Next, they requested a paediatrician to come and examine her. It was only after the doctor declared that she was not suffering from any disease at all that Shubhrika felt a bit comforted. The next day, her negative report came in.
When quizzed by her mother, the girl revealed that she was feeling insecure and anxious as all the other seven members of her family had got themselves inoculated. ìShe, somehow, felt that, now, she was an easy prey for corona. Media reports that the likely ëThird Waveí of the pandemic would primarily strike children added to her anxiety,î†Sangeeta, her mother, said.
Vaccination is being promoted as a scientific and dependable way of protecting one from infection. However, only 18+ people are eligible for the jab. ìThis situation may make some children feel that, while the adults in the family are protected from the disease, they arenít. This may make them anxious and nervous and they may even start imagining things,î said Dr ML Meena, who examined Shubhrika.
Other reasons for wanting the jab
Other children want to get vaccinated for different reasons. According to a housewife, Sucheta Singh, both her daughters are keen to get the jab because they feel that vaccination would be their permit to leave the confines of their home. ìThey think that, once they have got the jab, they can attend school, visit their friends and ride their bicycles,î she said.
Both her daughters, aged 16 and 13 years, respectively, are sick of being forced to stay at home for more than a year. "They're desperate for freedom and, if vaccination is the price they have to pay for it, theyíre more than willing to accept that," Singh said.
Chanchal Singh Rajput lives in a joint family of 10 adults and 5 children. Three of the adults have got both doses of the vaccine, while seven have got one. The children have not been vaccinated. ìMy daughter is 16 and son 10. Both want to get back to school as soon as possible. Theyíd like to get the vaccine,î Rajput says.
Some children want to get the vaccine, some are feeling insecure without it, but the cold fact is that, let alone India, Covid-19 vaccine for children is not available anywhere in the world.
Spend time with them
Since the second wave is proving to be more lethal than the first one, parents have tightened restrictions on their children. Every day, I get at least one case of†parents complaining that their kids are getting irritable, indisciplined and stressed. I suggest to them that they should communicate with the children, make them accept the reality, tell them that confinement at home isnít a burden but a need, and spend time with them. They should play indoor games with their children.Dr Satyakant Trivedi, psychiatrist
Follow corona protocols
About the third wave, all we now have is speculation and hypotheses. But children are exposed to all sorts of information and they may feel apprehensive. Parents should counsel them and involve them in creative activities. Children should be told that, if they follow the corona protocols, they will be safe.Rahul Sharma, clinical psychologist
Make them feel secure
Children should be made to feel safe and secure. They should be kept away from negativity. What would we gain by worrying about the third wave? Instead, we should try to boost the immunity of the children through better diet, yoga, exercise and so forth. They should be encouraged to interact with other children of their age through video calls. Children often find it difficult to open up to their parents or other elders.Sindhu Dholpure, counsellor