First in line: N.L. parents eager to vaccinate young children after Health Canada approval

·3 min read
Health Canada has announced that the Moderna vaccine has been approved for children between the ages of six months and five years. (Sean Rayford/AP - image credit)
Health Canada has announced that the Moderna vaccine has been approved for children between the ages of six months and five years. (Sean Rayford/AP - image credit)
Sean Rayford/AP
Sean Rayford/AP

As Health Canada prepares to provide doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for young children, some parents in Newfoundland and Labrador are more than happy to line their children up.

On Thursday, Health Canada approved the Moderna vaccine for children between the ages of six months and five years.

"We'll be the first ones in line, I'd say," said one father of two small children.

Chris Friels has two sons under the age of three. Friels has had COVID twice himself, while his children have each had it once, at one point placing the youngest in hospital.

Given that ordeal, the family welcomes Health Canada's announcement.

"We're very excited," said Friels, speaking to CBC's On the Go. "We can't wait. I'm sure you've read different articles about parents feeling like the children have been left behind. We're there."

Friels explained he's relieved to protect his children further, hopefully preventing a similar situation to the one they dealt with a few short months ago.

Renee Williams, a mother of two, shares Friels' excitement.

"We've been patiently waiting," said Williams. She told CBC News that her six-year-old daughter has been vaccinated, but the family was waiting for an announcement for her four-year-old.

"It's great news," said Williams. "Just to know that they have that extra protection. We can kind of carry on living with COVID. As a mom, it's encouraging."

Darryl Murphy/CBC
Darryl Murphy/CBC

Helen Wheeler is excited for her family, as lockdowns, changes in regulation and fluctuating case counts have provided so much uncertainty over the last two-plus years.

"I think that's wonderful. At least they've got a fighting chance if they do get sick or catch this virus. I agree with it."

'Most people have had COVID run through their house'

Josh Styles and his wife are parents to a 14-month-old son.

Initially, the couple were anxious to vaccinate their child as quickly as possible.

This past June, just after the boy's first birthday, COVID made its way into the home. Of the family of three, the toddler showed the fewest symptoms.

While still planning to vaccinate his son, Styles explained to CBC News that given the way things have played out, his family feels less of a sense of urgency than they did in the beginning.

"Early on, we were very adamant that [he] must get vaccinated very soon," said Styles.

"We were very afraid that he was going to get COVID and it was going to be serious. But after he had it and was the least sick of the three of us, we got less concerned and we haven't really been thinking about the vaccines ever since. But we'll definitely be getting him vaccinated, for sure."

Garrett Barry/CBC
Garrett Barry/CBC

Styles told CBC News that most parents he knows feel the same way, having already contracted COVID themselves.

"Anyone who we talk to says 'Yeah, we'll get them vaccinated when it comes out,' but it hasn't really been too much of a concern," said Styles. "Most people I know with small children have had COVID run through their house at some point."

While Styles argues the sense of urgency has dwindled in recent months, his son will certainly be receiving the vaccine once the rollout is underway.

"Whatever vaccine is available, the one that they're willing to put into my arm or my son's arm, is the one that he's going to get."

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