N.S. COVID response expert urges preparing kids for upcoming vaccines

·2 min read
A child receives her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. Moderna's vaccine will now be available to infants and preschoolers between the ages of six months and five years across Canada. (Lisa Marie David/Reuters - image credit)
A child receives her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. Moderna's vaccine will now be available to infants and preschoolers between the ages of six months and five years across Canada. (Lisa Marie David/Reuters - image credit)

A COVID response expert with the IWK Health Centre in Halifax says parents and guardians should start preparing kids for the COVID-19 shot.

This comes after Health Canada announced earlier this month that the youngest Canadians will finally be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.

With approval from the federal drug regulator, Moderna's vaccine will soon be available to infants and preschoolers between the ages of six months and five years, which accounts for nearly two million residents across the country.

The province announced that appointments for children can be booked beginning sometime in early August for a later date, though the details haven't been announced.

Despite the lack of information, Mary-Beth Rowe, the manager of the COVID-19 response in the children's hospital, said it's a case of earlier the better when it comes to preparing kids for the shot.

"Your child will be better prepared and ultimately will have a better experience when they show up to whatever vaccine clinic you happen to take them to," Rowe said on Maritime Noon.

Rowe said she recommends speaking to young children about the vaccine to help build the trust they have in their parents and the health-care system, adding that "springing" a vaccine appointment on a young child can set them up for anxiety and phobia over needles later on.

Conversations ahead of time

Some things parents and guardians can do to make the shot easier on kids includes having conversations ahead of time to let them know what to expect.

Congratulating kids after getting the jab works, too, Rowe added, and some kids found the use of numbing cream or devices or toys to distract them helpful. These tips and more can be found in the IWK's online vaccine toolkit.

Rowe said the IWK does not have any insight as to when the vaccine rollout for kids might begin, and the hospital is still waiting for guidance from the provincial Health Department.

CBC News reached out to the province to ask when parents will hear the details of the vaccine rollout. In a statement, the Department of Health said it's coming soon.

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