COVID-19 in BC: Vaccines for children aged six months to four years are available today in the Vancouver Coastal Health region

The Vancouver Coastal Health Region announced that as of today (Aug. 2) COVID-19 vaccines will be available for infants and children ages six months to four years.

According to an Aug. 2 VCH bulletin, parents or guardians of children whose age falls within that age are “strongly” encouraged to register them in the provincial system for vaccination.

Eleven dedicated pediatric vaccination clinics will be operational in VCH communities to facilitate the program. After registration, the parents of the children will be informed to make an appointment with the nearest clinic.

VCH estimates that up to 45,000 babies and children in the health region are eligible for the injection. In the entire province, about 208,000 are qualified to be registered.

“Clinical staff are trained to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations to children and are committed to making it a positive experience for families,” the VCH bulletin said. “Most clinics have separate quiet areas set up for children with special needs, such as autism, sensory processing or needle phobia.”

Information on preparing children for a vaccination can be found here on the BC Center for Disease Control website. If parents have any questions about vaccinations against COVID-19 in children, VCH encourages them to call their GP or nurse specialist; Health questions can also be asked by phone on 8-1-1.

While it is generally believed that infants and children aged six months to four years have a lower risk of dangerous health effects from COVID-19 infections compared to older age groups, vaccination will reduce that risk even more.

For maximum effectiveness, two doses of the vaccine are recommended, with an eight-week interval between injections.

On July 14, Health Canada authorized the use of the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine for infants and toddlers. VCH noted in its publication that the federal agency has “strictly reviewed efficacy and safety data to ensure the vaccine is safe, with a low risk of side effects.”

All regional health authorities will offer the vaccine by appointment from August 2, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced on the ministry’s website on July 14. “BC has the capacity and experience to deliver this COVID-19 vaccination campaign for this new age group,” said Dix.

“Almost 12 million doses have been administered to eligible people since the start of the vaccination campaign in BC,” continues Dix. “I encourage parents to enroll their children under the age of five so that they are invited to make an appointment, starting August 2.”

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