A panel of experts answer questions from the audience during the Government House Lecture Series: Kids and COVID.

A panel of experts answer questions from the audience during the Government House Lecture Series: Kids and COVID.

29 Mar, 2022

Lecture Series: Kids and COVID

The Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia and Ms Susie Annus hosted the latest in their lecture series at Government House on the evening of Tuesday 29 March 2022, with this event featuring eminent researchers and experts discussing the impact of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant on WA children.

The Government House Lecture Series highlights important issues for the Western Australian community and brings together eminent speakers to address a topic in detail. These events disseminate key learnings to those who can affect change and facilitate further sharing of the findings with a broader audience.

A panel of experts answer questions from the audience during the Government House Lecture Series: Kids and COVID.The Governor delivers his opening address.

The session shared the very latest research into COVID-19, including an exploration of the short, medium and long term effects of the virus on children’s physical and mental health. Discussion also centred on its effects on children’s speech and learning development, as well as links between Omicron and secondary and serious illness. The researchers also presented practical steps and advice that parents, carers and teachers can take to keep children safe.

The Governor stated in his opening address:

“This topic is at top of mind as we grapple to understand this virus…The learning edge has been sharp for us, and these lessons have not all been pleasant. The finest minds have made time to share with those here today – and to our broader audience after the event – the very latest research on this condition and how it affects our kids. I thank the Telethon Kids Institute for partnering with us in this event and lending us their expertise.

A panel of experts answer questions from the audience during the Government House Lecture Series: Kids and COVID.A socially distanced audience gathers for the lecture.

The discussion was led by Professor Jonathan Carapetis, Director of Telethon Kids Institute.  He posed questions submitted online and from the audience to esteemed panellists – Associate Professor Asha Bowen, Head of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases and Ms Amy Finlay-Jones Head of Early Neurodevelopment and Mental Health at Telethon Kids Institute, and Professor Helen Milroy of UWA Medical School of Psychiatry.

Topics covered during the 90-minute discussion covered a broad range of content including:

  • the correlation between pre-term birth and COVID
  • measures that can be put in place to ensure children and families living with rare diseases live the best lives possible
  • the physical improvements at schools to better protect students and staff
  • the impact on mental health, cognitive learning and social development

A panel of experts answer questions from the audience during the Government House Lecture Series: Kids and COVID.The audience was also made up of experts in their fields, allowing for further discussions.

A recording of the lecture and discussion is available here. Government House thanks the Telethon Kids Institute for their vital work in helping to preserve and protect the health of Western Australian children, and in partnering with us on this important event. The next in the series – planned for May 2022 – will address early neurological development in children aged 0 – 5 years.

For further information on research by the Telethon Kids Institute on the effects of COVID-19 on children, please click here.

 

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