Vaccine bookings for children under five opening this week

·2 min read

The Ontario government is taking bookings for COVID-19 vaccine appointments for children as young as six months old.

Just a week ago, Health Canada approved Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for infants and preschoolers, marking the first vaccine approved for the age group in the country. The child-sized vaccine dose is one-quarter the size of the adult quantity.

The province announced that appointments would become available on Thursday, July 28, at 8 a.m.

Over the next several days, pediatric vaccines will be distributed across the province. They will be available through public health unit clinics, as well as participating pediatricians, primary care providers and pharmacies.

“The approval of a lower dose pediatric Moderna vaccine will give families the opportunity to provide an additional layer of protection against COVID-19 for the youngest members of their families,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Sylvia Jones.

She added that getting vaccinated remains the best defence against COVID-19 and encourages parents with questions to reach out to their health care provider, the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre or the SickKids COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service to make an informed choice for their family.

Appointments can be made through Ontario’s online booking portal, local public health units with their own booking system, participating primary care providers, and pediatricians.

Children in this age bracket will be given the pediatric Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which is a slightly modified, lower dose than that given to kids six and up. It will be administered in a two-dose series at an eight-week recommended interval between the first and second doses.

According to Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore, even if a child has already been infected with COVID-19, the vaccine will provide better protection and help improve their immune response.

“Although most children who get infected have no symptoms or mild symptoms, some can become very sick and require hospitalization,” said Moore.

He clarified the vaccine offered to children aged six months to under five years is a lower dose that is safe and effective at protecting this age group from COVID-19.

“I encourage every parent and caregiver to consider getting their younger children vaccinated and protected, especially if they are immunocompromised or have other serious medical conditions,” he said.

Immunocompromised teenagers between 12 and 17 will also be eligible to book a second booster on Thursday, as long as it has been at least six months since their first booster.

Currently, more than 33 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the province, with more than 93 percent of Ontarians 12 and older have had one dose. More than 91 percent have received a second dose. Meanwhile, uptake of the third shot continues to lag. Roughly 58 percent of eligible residents in Chatham-Kent have got their first booster.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News

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