WINDSOR, ONT. — The first COVID-19 vaccine appointments for Windsor-Essex children aged 5 to 11 will take place on Thursday.
The federal government announced Friday that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for younger aged kids in Canada.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said appointment slots at the Devonshire Mall mass vaccination clinic are available for booking through the online system or by calling 226-773-2200.
Those children who are newly eligible must be accompanied by their custodial parent or guardian to receive a vaccine and will be required to present a health card or other form of identification.
In addition to the mass vaccination clinic, all eligible groups are encouraged to contact participating pharmacies, healthcare providers, or to drop in to one of the community pop-up vaccination clinics to get their vaccine.
WECHU says there are about 33,000 kids between the ages of five and 11 in the region.
Acting medical officer of health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai says expanding access to the vaccine for this younger age group will help the community to take the next step in its battle against COVID-19.
“In the past month alone, Windsor-Essex County has had 96 school cohort dismissals and 136 infections in school-aged children,” said Nesathurai. “Vaccination for this 5-11 age group is an integral part of the strategy to reduce the burden of disease on the community and will directly impact the potential for students to remain in school for in-person learning, and further limit the opportunity for this virus to spread.”
Health Unit CEO Nicole Dupuis said that there may be some apprehension amongst parents in getting their children vaccinated and strongly encourages anyone who has questions to seek help from reliable sources, like the health unit’s website or a healthcare provider.
“With the rigorous testing and approval processes required, parents have nothing to worry about. Any vaccine or medication has the potential for side effects, however serious side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, such as allergic reactions, are extremely rare and can be treated,” she said.
The health unit has added a new section to their website with further information and resources for young people and their parents to learn more about the vaccine, potential side effects, and a link to a free COVID-19 Vaccine Consult service from Sick Kids Hospital where Parents can speak to a trained pediatric nurse in order to have their questions answered by a trusted professional.