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Vancouver Coastal Health launches dedicated supports for children receiving COVID-19 vaccine
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) COVID-19 vaccination clinics are offering dedicated supports to children five to 11 years of age. As they are booking their child's appointment through the Get Vaccinated system, parents and guardians can choose from a number of options based on their child's specific care needs.
VCH began operating dedicated children's clinics in December 2021 and these additional supports will ensure children, parents and guardians have a positive and child-centred experience while getting vaccinated, tailored to meet the needs of each child.
On January 25, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) issued updated recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in children five to 11 years of age, in light of new data on vaccine safety. NACI now recommends that a complete series of Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine should be offered to children in this age group who do not have contraindications to the vaccine, with a dosing interval of at least eight weeks between the first and second dose.
VCH child-friendly vaccination options
Children ages five to 11 are welcomed at all VCH vaccination clinics, each of which have health care professionals trained to support children and their parents or guardians though the vaccination process. For children who need additional support during their vaccination, parents and guardians can access the following options.
For a child-specific experience, look for an "Ages 5 to 11" specific appointment at vaccination clinics throughout the VCH region via the Get Vaccinated system.
For children who require a quieter space, book an appointment at a clinic with individual rooms via the Get Vaccinated system. These clinics include:
Vancouver: George Pearson Age 5-11 Clinic
Richmond: Pacific Autism Family Network Age 5-11 Clinic
North Shore: ICBC Age 5-11 Clinic
For children ages five to 17 with special needs, such as autism, sensory processing, or needle phobia, call to set up an appointment in a specialized setting:
Central Intake (all VCH communities): 604-263-7377
Getting children vaccinated from COVID-19 provides a number of critical benefits. While children five to 11 years of age are at a lower risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 than other cohorts, vaccination will reduce the risk further. The protection afforded by vaccination can also help children and families continue to engage in important activities, including attending school and recreational activities, and minimize disruptions to family life and education due to self-isolation. These factors significantly benefit the physical and mental health of children, who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Further, as requirements for travel in Canada and other countries continue to shift, vaccination of eligible family members with World Health Organization-approved vaccines may help facilitate family travel.
On November 29, 2021, all children aged five to 11 became eligible to receive a COVID-19 pediatric vaccine. As of January 27, 2022, 66 per cent of this eligible population have received their first dose of vaccine in the VCH region. Children five to 11 are eligible for a second vaccine dose eight weeks after receipt of their first dose. B.C. parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to register their children to get vaccinated at www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca and book their first or second dose appointment as soon as they are invited.
Vaccinations are free of charge and available to anyone five years of age and older, including people who don't have a personal health number or people who are not residents of B.C.
COVID-19 vaccination information and resources, including guidance on how to prepare children for vaccination, can be found on the BCCDC website. In addition, parents and guardians are welcomed to join a live question and answer session on COVID-19 vaccines for children five to 11 years of age on VCH's Facebook page, which will be facilitated by Dr. Meena Dawar, VCH Medical Health Officer, on Friday, February 11 at 1 p.m. PST.
VCH is responsible for the delivery of $4.1 billion in community, hospital and long-term care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. VCH also provides specialized care and services for people throughout B.C., and is the province's hub of health-care education and research.