Parents react to approval of COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 in Canada

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Health Canada approved a COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of five and 11 on Friday. Here's a look at how some parents are feeling about the upcoming vaccine rollout for young kids.

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Lisa Dorning

The Toronto mother said she was "incredibly relieved" to hear that her 11-year-old son could soon get vaccinated, allowing him to be protected from the virus as he goes to school, participates in extracurricular activities and interacts with family.

"We're absolutely thrilled with every chance to return to normalcy and to help ensure that Jack has as normal and healthy a childhood as possible, we're gonna seize upon it," she said.

Dorning said she, her husband and three older children had rushed to get vaccinated as soon as possible earlier this year in an effort to protect themselves and those around them.

While her youngest son isn’t a fan of needles, Dorning said he's ready to get the jab because he "absolutely understands" the importance of protecting himself, his family and his community from COVID-19.

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Jen Moore

Moore, a resident of River Philip, N.S., was homeschooling her two children until February to reduce their risk of catching COVID-19.

The kids have since returned to school and her 14-year-old son has been vaccinated, but Moore said she's been anxiously waiting to hear when her 10-year-old daughter could also get the jab.

"I'll feel so much better once when she's vaccinated. And I know it's not 100 per cent, but at least there's, you know, a lot of protection," said Moore.

While she and her daughter are "excited" about booking a vaccine appointment soon, Moore said she wishes the Nova Scotia government had set up a pre-registration system for children's vaccine appointments in advance of the Health Canada approval, such as those set up in Alberta and British Columbia.

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Cathryn Carruthers

Carruthers, who lives in Calgary, said she has received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine but is hesitant about getting her two children vaccinated.

"We don't feel ready or informed enough yet to proceed with vaccination with the children right away," she said.

She blamed Alberta's leadership for creating the confusion she feels about the vaccine, especially after the province lifted restrictions in the summer and then put them back in place in the fall after the province was hit with a fourth wave.

Carruthers said she has been in touch with her family doctor and is continuing to learn more about the vaccine to determine when and if she will get her children vaccinated.

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Dr. Shazma Mithani

Mithani, an Edmonton-based emergency room doctor who works with adults and children, said she has already registered her five-year-old daughter for a vaccine through Alberta Health Services' website.

The health agency has said appointments will be available as soon as the province receives supply but residents can register their children online in advance.

"We know this age group in particular was driving infections in the last wave in Alberta so I feel very strongly that getting vaccinated for the kids is important," she said.

"This is getting us one step closer to finally being past this pandemic because until we vaccinate our children, it's going to be really hard to not avoid another wave, especially as we move indoors."

Mithani said the pandemic has highlighted how dangerous misinformation is so she encouraged Albertans to speak to a health-care provider if they are hesitant about getting their kids vaccinated.

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Mark Przepiora

Przepiora said his five-year-old daughter started kindergarten this year as COVID-19 cases started "skyrocketing" in Alberta.

Nearly every week in this past wave of the virus, he said he's received an email informing him of another exposure either in his daughter's school or class.

"She stayed in school, and thankfully, everything worked out, but, it was a crapshoot," the Calgary father said.

Przepiora, who has already pre-registered his daughter for a vaccine, said he's looking forward to her being fully vaccinated to help ease the nerves he's felt throughout much of the pandemic.

"Obviously, I wish it wasn't necessary to perform any medical procedures on children, but the fact is that it looks like COVID is here to stay. And really the bottom line for us is that we'd rather our daughter become immune from the vaccine than from the virus," he said.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Noushin Ziafati and Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press

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