With its walls lined with drawings of Spiderman and Baby Yoda, the Quadra Village Community Centre is set to immunize some of the south Island’s youngest kids against COVID-19 next week.
Children between the ages of six months to four years will start receiving vaccine doses on Aug. 2 at the Victoria community centre (950 Kings Rd.). The pediatric rollout will currently include a quarter-dose of the Moderna vaccine, administered across two appointments eight weeks apart.
While giving a tour of the site on Thursday, Island Health’s Dr. Mike Benusic and public health nurse Sandra Bishop said they’re really excited to start administering the vaccine as it’s safe for kids and provides excellent protection from severe outcomes of COVID-19 – such as hospitalization, ICU admission and death.
“As all parents know, when the school year comes around and when we start spending more time indoors and more time in close contact with kiddos, we see an increase in disease and viruses, so getting your child protected now will allow them to build their immunity,” Bishop said.
Asked about parents who may have concerns, the health officials said getting the COVID-19 shot is just like the routine set of vaccines young children receive to keep them safe from other diseases. Parents can also schedule their kids to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the same timeframe as their other vaccines.
Parents or guardians can now register their children in the B.C. Get Vaccinated system (bit.ly/3zdB3aY). Once registration is complete, parents or guardians will be invited to book an appointment. Parents can also preregister infants under six months old and an invitation will come in once they reach that age.
Benusic said even though it’s been fortunate that children have been low risk of harm from COVID-19, that doesn’t mean there’s no risk. It’s taken this long because more at-risk groups were prioritized and a lot of time went into ensuring the vaccine meant for kids would reduce their risk of harm and not have any adverse effects.
“Now we’ve got it right and were ready to roll it out,” Benusic said.
The clinic will be kid-friendly with colouring, games, stickers and it will primarily be run by public health nurses who immunize children and babies every day. It also includes private rooms for kids that may feel more comfortable receiving their shot there.
Benusic said even though the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends waiting to get vaccinated for three months after a positive COVID-19 infection, there’s no harm in getting it earlier.
While there will be about five clinics specifically for the vaccines across Island Health, they’re also available at public health units. Small island or remote communities will see pop-up clinics, Benusic said.
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