Did your young child get a flu shot recently? Their COVID-19 vaccine may have to wait

·2 min read
Five-to-11-year-olds are now able to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but it's recommended they wait two weeks after getting their flu shot. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Five-to-11-year-olds are now able to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but it's recommended they wait two weeks after getting their flu shot. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Parents looking to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19 might be surprised to learn those aged five to 11 will need to wait if they've also received a flu shot in the last two weeks.

It's a detail that's been quietly added to the federal government's information page on vaccinating children and the Ottawa Public Health website.

According to the federal government's site, "if possible, children shouldn't receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine within 14 days of other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine."

It's a precaution to monitor for any side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, the government said. The same precaution does not apply to those aged 12 to 17.

Ontario's Ministry of Health is taking its guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, said spokesperson Bill Campbell in a statement to CBC.

"Individuals who wish to receive two different vaccines within the 14-day interval may do so with informed consent," Campbell wrote.

OPH, however, says on its site it "will not be providing co-administration of the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 with other vaccines."

"This means that when your child receives their COVID-19 vaccine, they will not be given other vaccines at the same time," it said.

OPH did not say how else it was sharing this information with parents, only pointing to the frequently asked question section on its website.

Information kept quiet, says parent

Some parents whom CBC spoke to said that when they made vaccine appointments through Ontario's booking portal, there was no information indicating five-to-11-year-olds should wait two weeks between a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine.

"I'm going to go home and look up when her flu vaccine was and then rearrange, I guess," said Naomi Klassen, whose six-year-old recently got her flu shot.

Klassen said she'd also booked a COVID-19 vaccination for her this weekend, without being aware of the guidance from public health.

While parent Kelly Gauthier was aware, she said the guideline "hasn't been put out there as freely [as other] information has been put out."

Doug Wilkinson said he and his wife waited to book their 11-year-old daughter Mabel's flu shot, knowing they would then face a two-week wait for a COVID-19 vaccination.

"We'll give the COVID shot priority and then get the flu shot," Wilkinson said.

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