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Vaccination limbo: Cape Breton households struggling to get kids vaccinated due to medical historical past

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SYDNEY, N.S. — Kaitlynn Dawson-MacPherson was excited to go see a film along with her mates.

Till the 17-year-old’s mom reminded her she could not go as a result of she hasn’t acquired a COVID-19 vaccination.

Dawson-MacPherson needs to be absolutely vaccinated however to date her medical historical past has prevented that from taking place.

Together with having an intense concern of needles, Dawson-MacPherson has a coronary heart situation that causes her to cross out all of the sudden. It is a situation that medical doctors have been attempting to establish for greater than two-and-a-half-years, earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dawson-MacPherson and her mom, Monique Dawson, say the situation has additionally contributed to her being refused the vaccine on three separate events.

Dawson mentioned they’ve been advised her daughter wants medical clearance earlier than she could be vaccinated, however they don’t seem to be being advised get that clearance.

Nor have they been capable of decide the place Dawson-MacPherson can get a vaccination exemption till she will get the medical clearance wanted to guard herself in opposition to COVID-19.

“She wants the vaccine. She needs the vaccine however nobody will give it to her,” mentioned Dawson.

“Based on the (Authorities of Nova Scotia) web site, she does not meet the standards for a vaccine exemption. I do not know what to do for her. I am caught between a rock and a tough place.”

Refused vaccination

Earlier than medical doctors decided what might be inflicting Dawson-MacPherson to all of the sudden cross out, the teenager was fainting as a lot as 30 instances a day, in line with her mom.

For nearly three years, medical doctors did exams and Dawson-MacPherson’s medical situation was monitored. Throughout this time she began going to the IWK Well being Centre the place she additionally had an MRI.

Her final appointment with the specialist on the IWK was Jan. 4 and there was a vaccination clinic on the hospital the identical day. Dawson-MacPherson and her mom determined they’d go there for her first shot after two failed makes an attempt.

The primary two makes an attempt had been at pharmacy clinics in Sydney the place the pharmacist at every location advised her they would not give her the COVID-19 vaccination.

Dawson-MacPherson additionally suffers from an excessive concern of needles since having hostile reactions to an influenza vaccination when she was seven or eight. At her first vaccination appointment, her concern of needles brought about an anxiousness assault and the pharmacist was unable to vaccinate her.

On the second appointment, along with her mom, headphones, music and a blindfold, Dawson-MacPherson was able to strive once more however the pharmacist refused to vaccinate her when her mom advised him her daughter had a historical past of fainting.

On the IWK clinic, along with her coping instruments in place, Dawson-MacPherson was able to get the shot once more solely to be advised they would not give it to her as a result of her MRI outcomes confirmed her coronary heart was enlarged.

Dawson-MacPherson’s mom mentioned whereas within the ready room she spoke with one other household whose daughter was in the identical boat, due to a coronary heart situation no suppliers would vaccinate her however she’s additionally unable to get a vaccine exemption.

Coronary heart circumstances aren’t listed as a medical cause for an exemption in Nova Scotia.

“It is virtually like she’s falling by the cracks,” Dawson mentioned.

Her daughter mentioned she’s been subjected to apparent mistrust from some individuals.

“(They) mentioned, ‘Oh the place’s your observe for that Katie?’ As in the event that they did not imagine me, that I can not get the vaccination,” mentioned the teenager, admitting it has been affecting her psychological well being.

Helps in place

In the course of the Jan. 12 COVID-19 briefing, Dr. Robert Strang mentioned he is conscious of just one case of a kid within the province who has been refused the COVID-19 vaccination and that circumstances like these are “very uncommon.”

“Actually, for the uncommon circumstances, the place the kid might have an exemption, and might’t get the vaccine due to earlier historical past to response to vaccines, we even have a course of in place and this has been repeatedly communicated to main care suppliers, that they will have an pressing referral to a specialist, together with allergist for an evaluation,” mentioned Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of well being.

“I can not communicate to any particular circumstances. However we’ll do every thing we are able to to make sure a baby can safely get vaccinated and there is a lot of consultants on this province. We’re very lucky to have pediatric vaccine consultants to help particular person medical circumstances.”

In a written assertion to an interview request on Jan. 11, the Division of Well being and Wellness mentioned medical exemptions are supplied by medical doctors and nurse practitioners solely after they meet the provincially authorised standards. These are discovered on the federal government web site. None checklist coronary heart circumstances or psychological sicknesses, similar to trypanophobia — a phobia of needles.

No assist discovered

Tee, not their actual title, cannot hear the phrase COVID or needle with out breaking into tears and sometimes hyperventilating.

Their concern of being held down and compelled to get a needle is so extreme their mom believes it’s a phobia.

“My child would actually leap off a bridge to keep away from getting a needle,” Tee’s mom mentioned.

Tee’s identification is being protected due to the extreme anxiousness they’re presently experiencing resulting from desirous to get vaccinated, their phobia of needles and their concern of contracting COVID-19.

Tee’s mom realized the phobia of needles and realizing the COVID-19 vaccination was going to be authorised for kids, she made an appointment with their household physician. A referral for an appointment with a psychological well being skilled was made however it’s not for a number of months.

Tee’s mom has referred to as the IWK and Nova Scotia Well being and been supplied helps like having somebody come to their house to do Tee’s vaccination; one thing that is not viable as Tee’s phobia will get in the way in which.

“We aren’t upset that my youngster cannot go to a restaurant or any occasions, we do not need (Tee) to have an exclusion, we wish to shield our youngster,” Tee’s mom mentioned.

“The federal government is telling us that needles are the one manner when that is not doable there is no backup choice and we’re not the one individuals on this scenario.”

Nasal spray vaccinations

There aren’t any nasal spray COVID-19 vaccination choices in Nova Scotia or in Canada however the expertise is being labored on on this nation in addition to Russia and India.

When requested about helps for individuals with advanced wants, Strang gave at-home and in-patient hospital vaccinations as two examples of helps supplied in Nova Scotia.

“There are pathways in each zone to supply the required helps to take care of the entire vary of, whether or not it is concern, anxiousness, kids and even adults with advanced disabilities that require a lot of extra helps,” he mentioned.

“Now we have been doing this efficiently for months so I am undecided why individuals would have problem accessing these helps at the moment.”

Nicole Sullivan is an immigration/range and schooling reporter for the Cape Breton Submit. 

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