Problems relating to swab tests performed on children
Question for written answer E-005392/2020/rev.1
to the Commission
Stefania Zambelli (ID), Antonio Maria Rinaldi (ID), Anna Bonfrisco (ID), Simona Baldassarre (ID)
The current pandemic is leading to an increase in the number of swab tests being prescribed, including by paediatricians, for children of all ages.
Nasopharyngeal swabs pose a number of health risks, such as the breakage of the swab with subsequent inhalation, possible injury to the nasal, oral and pharyngeal mucosa, but also psychological trauma for the child.
The nasopharyngeal swab test is, to all intents and purposes, a medical act, which requires the informed consent of parents or a guardian. However, they are not receiving adequate information about the operational risks of the swab test.
The prescription of such an invasive and risky procedure is being based solely on mild and clinically unspecific symptoms.
In light of the above, can the Commission say:
- 1.whether, in its view, it is vital for paediatricians to inform parents about the risks children may face when they have to take a swab test;
- 2.whether, in its view, swab test prescriptions should be justified by an appropriate medical condition, including – in particular – in the case of children and infants; and
- 3.whether it does not consider it appropriate, given the invasiveness of the nasopharyngeal swab, to replace it with saliva, or less invasive, swab tests?