What we know about COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 in Nova Scotia

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Health Canada has approved the Moderna vaccine for children six months to five years. (Lisi Niesner/Reuters - image credit)
Health Canada has approved the Moderna vaccine for children six months to five years. (Lisi Niesner/Reuters - image credit)

Nova Scotia children between six months old and five will soon be able to get their first round of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province announced Thursday that parents can start booking appointments in early August for shots at a later date.

"We're not having any prioritization system and we're just opening it up to all children — all ... of that age," Dr. Shelley Deeks, Nova Scotia's deputy chief medical officer of health, told reporters during a phone conference.

"Part of that is because we don't know what the demand is going to be. And we know that we're going to get more and more doses as supply comes into [the] country."

Children will need two shots — or three if severely immunocompromized — of the Moderna vaccine, the only one approved for children in that age group in Canada. The doses will need to be at least eight weeks apart. Children will be considered fully vaccinated 14 days after their last dose.

If a child has COVID-19, the appointment should be made eight weeks after the infection, Deeks said.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Dr. Lisa Barrett said even if a child had COVID-19, it's still important for them to get vaccinated.

"We do know the most reliable and consistent boosting of your immune response probably happens with vaccine," Barrettt said. "We don't have that data directly in those younger age groups at the moment [because] we're just about to start vaccinating them yet, but that makes reasonable sense."

Parents are advised to make sure their children have their other routine vaccinations before the COVID-19 one is available, Deeks said.

"Now is the time to get them up to date to protect them against those vaccine-preventable diseases. And then they'll be ready to get their dose of Moderna once we have it in the province," she said.

If children are getting other routine pediatric vaccines, the province says those vaccines can only be administered at least 14 days before or after the COVID-19 vaccine.

The province estimates there are around 34,000 children aged six months to four years old in Nova Scotia.

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