Public Health Sudbury & Districts ready to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 5 to 11Issued: Monday, November 22, 2021
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is ready to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 5 to 11 as early as Friday, November 26, 2021. Careful preparation has meant that Public Health can swing into action as soon as provincial guidance is released and vaccine supply arrives locally. With the November 19 approval by Health Canada and same-day release of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendations (PDF), the pediatric formulation of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty will soon be available at existing local Public Health clinics, at participating pharmacies, primary care offices, and targeted in-school and after-school clinics. Special considerations are being given to host school-based clinics for children aged 5 to 11 attending special needs schools, select schools that service at-risk populations, and where schools may have reduced access or transportation concerns.
“This is such welcome news for everyone, and especially our area where we are seeing children 5 to11, their schools and their families, heavily impacted by the current COVID-19 surge,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “Being able to offer our young people vaccine means that they too can soon benefit from this additional layer of protection,” added Dr. Sutcliffe.
“Vaccination is in our children’s best interests. During wave 4, and especially in recent weeks, the 5 to 11 age group has had a higher incidence of confirmed COVID-19 cases. As of this morning we have 15 active outbreaks related to schools, school buses and daycares. Thankfully children’s rates of hospitalization have remained low but with the Delta variant so easily transmissible in schools and families, I want us to do all we can to prevent infections and the complications of COVID infections such as myocarditis, long COVID and of course the collateral harms of school disruption and social isolation,” said Dr. Sutcliffe. “There is limited evidence to date on the risk factors that make COVID infections more severe in children. However, there is strong evidence for more severe disease in adult populations if there are other underlying health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, kidney disease and neurological disorders and for individuals with Down Syndrome. Let’s do all we can to protect all our kids.”
When and how to book an appointment
Starting 8 a.m. Tuesday, November 23, 2021, appointments can be booked for children aged 5 to 11 years old through the provincial online booking system at covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine and through the local call centre at 705.674.2299 (toll-free: 1.800.708.2505). The call centre is open Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. and is closed on statutory holidays.
It is anticipated that Public Health Sudbury & Districts will receive the shipment of the vaccine this week and we are planning to be able to offer the vaccine in our clinics as early as Friday, November 26, 2021. The full COVID-19 vaccine clinic schedule will be updated and is available at phsd.ca/COVID-19/vaccine-clinics.
Preparing for a positive COVID-19 vaccination appointment
All vaccination clinics have COVID-safety measures in place. To make your child’s vaccination appointment a positive experience, please ensure they have had something to eat or drink before their appointment and that they wear a top that allows for easy access to the upper arm such as a loose-fitting top or a t-shirt. Public Health is mindful that some children may be anxious and have a fear of needles. Immunizers are trained to help children have a comfortable experience.
Children born in 2016 or before will receive a pediatric dose of 10 micrograms (1/3 of the adult dose). This dose provides children with the same level of protection as the higher doses needed for adolescents and adults. It is important that children receive all recommended doses of the vaccine to build long-term protection against COVID-19. Children 5 to 11 years old are recommended to receive two doses, 8 weeks apart for optimal, long-lasting protection.
When joining your child(ren) at their vaccine appointment don’t forget to bring:
- A mask that covers the nose, mouth, and chin.
- Your child’s health card. If they do not have a health card or it is expired, bring another form of government-issued identification such as a passport, Status card, or birth certificate.
- A list of your child’s allergies and medications.
- Your child’s immunization record.
- A toy, favourite item, or screen device for comfort and distraction.
Most vaccination clinics throughout the service area will offer dedicated immunization stations for children aged 5 to 11 years as well as offer a more child-centred environment. If you or your child have symptoms of COVID-19, even mild ones, do not attend the clinic, and please get tested. If a member of your family has been instructed by Public Health to isolate due to a COVID-19 exposure, do not attend the clinic. If you plan on attending a walk-in clinic, make sure you dress for the weather as you may have to wait in line with your child.
Vaccine safety and effectiveness
After a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence, Health Canada has determined that the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years of age outweigh the risks. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that a complete two-dose series of the vaccine be offered to all children 5 to 11 years of age who do not have contraindications to the vaccine, with a dosing interval of at least eight weeks between the first and second dose.
Parents and guardians who have questions are encouraged to speak with trusted sources such as their health care provider, local pharmacist, or Public Health. Parents, caregivers and children can also call the Provincial Vaccine Confidence Line by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900, or visit COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service to book a confidential phone appointment with a SickKids clinician. For more information and to learn about the importance of getting your children vaccinated, please visit phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).