Interior Health pediatricians are encouraging families and young children to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Family Day on Feb. 21.
“The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and we encourage families to make their vaccination plans now to get children immunized as soon as they can,” said pediatrician Dr. Shannon Wires, in a news release. “Now is the time to ensure children are registered to receive a vaccine invitation and everyone should book at their earliest opportunity.”
Children are eligible to register for vaccination on or after their fifth birthday. which can be done by visiting the provincial Get Vaccinated website or calling 1‑833‑838‑2323.
Parents and guardians whose children are eligible for a second dose will receive a notification by phone or email to book an appointment.
“Getting your children vaccinated before Family Day is a good goal for families to have a safe and healthy 2022,” said Dr. Sue Pollock, Interior Health interim chief medical health officer. “Children who received their pediatric vaccine early in the campaign are now becoming eligible for their second dose. It is important children receive both doses of the vaccine to be fully protected.”
A pediatric version of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 was approved by Health Canada in November. A recent update from the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations recommended that young children aged 5-11 should be offered a full 10 microgram series, with an eight-week dosing interval.
Rural regions of the province, including Interior Health and Northern Health lag behind the rest of B.C. for vaccine uptake in children aged 5-11. Interior Health is at 41 per cent for a first dose, while Northern Health is at 32 per cent. By contrast, first dose rates in Fraser Health is at 47 per cent, while Vancouver-Coastal is at 65 per cent and Vancouver Island is at 59 per cent.
ScienceUpFirst, a national initiative involving scientists, doctors, researchers and health care professionals, is hosting a free virtual town hall on COVID-19 vaccines for children to mark National Kids and Vaccines Day on Thursday, Jan. 27.
The town hall will feature prominent pediatric health care professionals including Dr. Nisha Thampi, a pediatric infectious disease physician at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario; Dr. Manish Sadarangani, Sauder Family Chair in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of British Columbia; Dr. Christine Chambers, Psychologist and Scientific Director of both the CIHR Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health and Solutions for Kids in Pain; and Dr. Katharine Smart, a pediatrician and the president of the Canadian Medical Association.
Registration and a Zoom link to the event, which starts at 5 p.m. PT/6 p.m. MT, is available here.
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