Tuesday August 2, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated 6:30 pm]
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends
The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for infants and children from ages 6 months to five years will be available in Island Health starting August 3, and throughout BC this week.
The announcement was made today by Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry and Island Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr Mike Benusic, at the COVID-19 clinic within the Quadra Village Community Centre Gym.
One young child — Eli Litke, age 4, received his first COVID-19 vaccine shot, seated on his mother Danielle’s lap, as Dr Henry and Dr Benusic (as well his older brother William Litke and a group of media) looked on.
According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, children aged 6 months to 4 years will receive a 25 microgram dose of Moderna Spikevax, which is a quarter of the dosage for adults.
Infants and young children only need a small dose of vaccine to develop a similar level of protection against serious illness as adults.
The primary series is two shots, administered eight weeks apart, Dr Henry said today.
Different doses for different ages, in BC (See: About COVID-19 vaccination for children – BC CDD):
- The Moderna vaccine is for children 6 months – 11 years old (25 mcg / one quarter the adult dose).
- The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is for children 5 – 11 years old (10 mcg / one third of the adult dose)
Dr Henry & Dr Benusic:
“I’m excited and relieved that we finally have vaccines that are available and safe and work for the youngest children in our families and our communities,” said Dr Henry today.
“Today is the start of a good opportunity to protect them,” Dr Henry said in her trademark calm and compassionate tone.
“Thankfully, we know that young people have mild illness with COVID-19. But that’s not zero risk, and we know that some children do get seriously ill,” said Dr Henry’s top doctor.
Back from her summer vacation, Dr Henry today wore a bright orange dress as part of the child-friendly experience today at the COVID-19 children’s clinic in the Quadra/Hillside area of Victoria.
Vaccines help prevent serious illness:
Since the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines (which started in December 2020, more broadly for the population in January 2021), the vaccine protection originally prevented some transmission. Now — after several variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus — public health officials say that the vaccines don’t seem to prevent transmission but do reduce the likelihood of serious illness, hospitalization and death.
Dr Henry noted that only 31 children in BC — “mostly older teens” (under age 18) have experienced the multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (MIS-C was first noticed in 2020).
Preparing for back to school:
Dr Henry says this is “an important opportunity” to give young children protection “so that they are ready so that when we’re exposed to COVID they’re protected as well”. She emphasized how the vaccine will allow children to continue with their activities including going to school, including starting Kindergarten.
After the current summer break, schools reopen on Tuesday September 6, after the Labour Day weekend. Children will also be heading back into child care scenarios if they aren’t there already during these summer months.
“Vaccination against COVID-19 remains the most effective way to reduce the risk of needing to be hospitalized due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Mike Benusic, medical health officer at Island Health, in a news release before the BC Day long weekend.
Dr Henry encouraged parents to think about making that first COVID-19 appointment for their children.
Consent is required for children to get a COVID-19 vaccine and can be provided by one of the following at the appointment:
- Parent, legal guardian or foster parent
- Custodial caregiver like a grandparent or relative
A COVID-19 handout for parents to have more information about the pediatric vaccine is available on the BC CDC website.
Registration for children:
Parents and caregivers must first register their children in the provincial system Getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca .
Once registration is complete, parents will be invited to book an appointment at their local community clinic when immunization starts in August.
Parents can register children younger than six months of age now. When the child turns 6 months, the parent will get an invitation to book an appointment.
Appointments are required:
Appointments are necessary for these vaccines and will be held in child-friendly local immunization clinics.
The COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years started being available earlier this year.
Pediatric COVID-19 vaccines are not available in pharmacies.
Masks will be recommended in Fall 2022 respiratory season (August 5, 2022)
COVID vaccine available for kids under age 5 (July 29, 2022)
Health minister proud that BC kept schools open (July 8, 2022)
BC COVID immunization planning for Fall 2022 (July 5, 2022)
COVID Archive – Island Social Trends (2020 to present)
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. is the founder and editor of Island Social Trends, offering a socioeconomic view on the news as it happens in the west shore of Greater Victoria, the south Vancouver Island region, BC and nationally.
Island Social Trends began as MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), then the weekly print Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), then the weekly colour print/PDF West Shore Voice News.
IslandSocialTrends.ca as a daily news portal started in mid-2020, including daily news coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.