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COVID-vaccination registration opens for children six months to four years

Register online at getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca or phone 1-833-838-2323
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Public health nurse Sandra Bishop gives a tour of the post-vaccine waiting room for kids ages six months to four at the Quadra Village Community Centre. COVID-19 vaccination clinics across B.C. open to kids in that age group starting Aug. 2. NINA GROSSMAN

The Quadra Village Community Centre’s new COVID-19 ­vaccine clinic comes with colouring sheets, stickers and a quiet ­private room.

The clinic is one of several Vancouver Island immunization sites gearing up to vaccinate hundreds of children and babies ages six months to four against COVID-19.

Registration for the youngest cohort of vaccine-takers is open now, with appointments ­starting Aug. 2 at both standalone ­children’s clinics and some regular COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

Children will receive the ­Moderna mRNA vaccine, which was approved by Health Canada and recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

Sandra Bishop, an Island Health public health nurse, said the vaccine is a 25-microgram dose, which is about a quarter of the adult dose.

“It’s really exciting because it’s a very safe, effective ­vaccine and a great way to protect your kids — both protecting them from severe disease and severe outcomes, but also ­protecting family members and the ­community as a whole,” she said at a news conference Thursday.

The pediatric vaccine is a two-dose series, and families will receive an invitation for the second appointment about eight weeks after the first.

“When the school year rolls around and we start spending more time indoors and more time in close contact with ­kids, we see an increased incidence in disease and viruses. And so getting your child ­protected now will allow them to build their immunity,” Bishop said.

Parents and guardians can register their kids online; after registering, an invitation to book an appointment will be sent via text, email or phone call.

Go online to ­­­ getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca. Or phone 1-833-838-2323.

Pediatric vaccines will not be available at pharmacies.

Parents of children younger than six months old can register to receive an invitation to book an appointment when the child is old enough. Children who have recently had COVID-19 can get the ­vaccine eight weeks after their symptoms started or they tested positive.

Bishop said hundreds of children have already been booked for vaccines across the South Island.

“We had a really great uptake — it was well-received by the public when they were given that invitation to book their kids,” she said.

Vaccinations became available for children five to 11 years old in November 2021. In the Island Health region, 50 per cent of kids in that age group have received two doses and 64 per cent have at least one dose.

ngrossman@timescolonist.com

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