Kane Peterson, 9, gets his COVID vaccination at North Sound Pediatrics in Mill Creek, WA on Nov. 6, 2021. A vaccination clinic for children aged 5 to 11 is planned for the Ashcroft HUB on Nov. 30. (Photo credit: Kevin Clark/The Herald)

Kane Peterson, 9, gets his COVID vaccination at North Sound Pediatrics in Mill Creek, WA on Nov. 6, 2021. A vaccination clinic for children aged 5 to 11 is planned for the Ashcroft HUB on Nov. 30. (Photo credit: Kevin Clark/The Herald)

COVID-19 vaccine clinic for kids planned at Ashcroft HUB on Nov. 30

Vaccine has now been approved for kids aged 5 to 11

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved in Canada for kids aged 5 to 11, and Interior Health has scheduled a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for children in that age group for Tuesday, Nov. 30 (subject to vaccine availability).

The clinic is planned for the Ashcroft HUB from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Interior Health had not released full details of its kids’ vaccine clinic protocols when the paper went to press on Nov. 23, but it will probably be by appointment only. Parents and caregivers can register children or book appointments for them via the same system used for adults: by going online at https://bit.ly/30MhJEd, or by calling 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week.

In order to make the process less intimidating for children, there will be drinks, popcorn, and movies available at the clinic. As with adults, children will be asked to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after they receive the vaccine so that they can be monitored by health care professionals. Volunteers will also be there to assist kids and their families through every step of the process.

Dr. Carol Fenton, medical health officer with Interior Health, says that while vaccinations are not new to most children, there are ways that parents and caregivers can help get kids ready.

“It’s best to treat it as a non-event, and not a big deal: it’s just something we do. You can talk about your own experience with the vaccination, how it went for you, and why it’s important to get protection for you and those around you.”

The children’s vaccine comes in child-sized doses that are a third the size of the adult dose. Fenton says that the recommended interval between the first and second vaccine is eight weeks, meaning children will not be able to get their second dose until after the holiday season is over.

However, she adds that most of the protection from the COVID-19 vaccine comes with the first dose.

“It takes us from 0 to 70 in terms of protection. We need that second dose, which takes us up to about 85, to get a longer duration, which is why it’s important to complete the series, but most protection is from that first dose.”

She adds that trials found side effects from the vaccination were less frequent in children than in adults, but they still saw some, including soreness, swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, chills, and fever.

“Those are all signals that we’ve activated the immune system. It’s not a sign that something is going wrong.”

She says that parents should monitor any symptoms, but not change anything they would normally do if their child was not feeling well. “If they’re under the weather, keep them home from school. If it’s due to the vaccine then it should improve rapidly.”

Fenton explains that the risk of COVID-19 for the 5 to 11 age group is very similar to the risk from measles.

“It’s not something we want circulating in the community. When children are vaccinated they protect those around them, and it’s the best way we have of protecting children.”

A statement from the Ministry of Health last week noted that while children are at a lower risk of severe illness from COVID-19, it can still result in serious outcomes for some, including hospitalizations and long-term symptoms. It added that the vaccine is another step in allowing kids to go back to important activities.

There are about 360,000 B.C. children eligible for the vaccine, and about 75,000 children throughout the province have already been registered. More than 90 per cent of 17-year-olds are vaccinated, but the total for 12-year-olds currently stands at 76 per cent.

Booster doses for double-vaccinated seniors are also continuing, with about one out of four people aged 70 and up having received their third doses at community clinics. Anyone in this age group who has not received a notification about getting a booster shot can go online or call using the link or phone number above.

As of last week, 87 per cent of eligible B.C. residents aged 12 and up have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, while nearly 91 per cent have had one.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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