Parents facing long lineups at Saskatoon vaccination clinic for young children

·2 min read
A long line of families wait to get their young children vaccinated at Saskatoon's Prairieland Park. (Kyle Markewich/CBC - image credit)
A long line of families wait to get their young children vaccinated at Saskatoon's Prairieland Park. (Kyle Markewich/CBC - image credit)

People trying to get their young children vaccinated against COVID-19 in Saskatoon Friday faced long wait times, with some rebooking their visits to other days.

Friday marked the first day all Saskatchewan parents of children six months to five years old could book an appointment for a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine.

Some parents in Regina reported that they had difficulty booking slots Friday, but some Saskatoon parents were able to get bookings.

However, parents in Saskatoon were reporting wait times of more than two hours to get their children vaccinated at the local clinic at Prairieland Park.

Sean Brandt said he was excited after his wife successfully booked a vaccine appointment for his children for 10:30 a.m.  CST, but when he arrived at Prairieland, he was greeted by a large line of children and adults snaking out of the building.

After waiting for about an hour with his 18-month-old and four-year-old, he decided to rebook his appointment for another day.

"It's not exactly like you're waiting for a line at Disney," he said.

"There's not a break from a kids perspective at the end of an hour-long wait."

Brandt said a Saskatchewan Health Authority worker on site apologized to families and told them that the vaccination clinic staff believed they would only be receiving immunocompromized children that day, so only had two or three staff working at the clinic that day.

"It is a little bit frustrating," said Brandt.

"I'm a teacher, so I'm off anyway. It didn't really cost me anything except a little bit of time. But I do feel for working parents who potentially had to book the day off and organize this just to kind of get told no once you get to the gate."

A spokesperson for the Saskatchewan Health Authority acknowledged there were some delays, but said that's common when new age groups become eligible for vaccines.

Many parents chose to book same-day appointments, which led to a quick increase in bookings Friday morning, the spokesperson said.

Limited doses

The health authority had previously warned parents that there were a limited number of doses available, with only 13,000 doses of the pediatric vaccine received in the province so far.

Once bookings for those doses are filled, appointments for young children will be paused until additional vaccine supply arrives.

The doses of the Moderna Spikevax vaccine are specially formulated for young children.

Pharmacists are not allowed to give vaccinations to children younger than five years. As a result, all pediatric shots will be given in provincially-run clinics.

Children who have been infected with COVID-19 should wait at least eight weeks between infection and getting vaccinated.

Kids should also wait eight weeks between the first and second doses of the two-dose vaccine.

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