TORONTO – Stickers, superhero backdrops and displays are among the tools Ontario public health units will use at COVID-19 vaccination clinics for babies and preschoolers when vaccines will be available next week.
The province announced this week that Moderna’s vaccine supply for children aged six months to under five years would be distributed in the coming days, and appointments could be made starting next Thursday.
Public health units said Friday they were still working out the finer details of the rollout, but had specific child-friendly plans in the works.
In York Region, the public health unit said separate, smaller clinics are being set up for the youngest age group to make families “as comfortable as possible”, with hours of longer appointments, private spaces, accommodations for nursing parents and areas for strollers.
The clinics will also have coloring sheets and stickers on hand, some decorated with cartoons reminding children that they are “‘beary’ brave…to get vaccinated,” spokeswoman Jennifer Mitchell wrote in a statement. E-mail.
“Every effort will be made to reduce needle-related anxiety and fears in children,” she said, noting that staff will also be trained in distraction and support techniques for young children.
Families are also encouraged to bring comfort items like blankets, stuffed animals and tablets.
Niagara Region Public Health said it will try to make the vaccination experience for young children “as positive as possible” by allowing more time for appointments, giving each child a small toy to distract him during his vaccine and by having tablets with videos available. for them to look.
“Afterwards, they receive a small gift to take home and are encouraged to pose for photos against a superhero backdrop to acknowledge that they have done a heroic act to help fight this pandemic,” the office said. health.
Niagara Public Health said it is also working with primary care doctors, as many parents will likely want their child to be vaccinated by a doctor who knows them.
“We believe most parents will want to have their child immunized with the doctor who already sees their child and is familiar with them,” the health unit said in an emailed statement.
Peterborough Public Health said its dedicated clinics for children aged six months to five years would give families more time during their appointments to get comfortable and ask questions. The health unit also said barriers would be put up at mass vaccination clinics for families who may need privacy.
Huron Perth Public Health said it would hold clinics exclusively for the youngest age group from next Friday and offered some advice for parents ahead of time.
“We recommend parents/guardians bring something to help their child relax during their appointment, such as a favorite stuffed animal, toy or headphones and music,” the health unit said in a statement. Press.
The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa said it is finalizing dates and pre-registration details for its clinics that will vaccinate children who are immunocompromised, who need more time, who have medical complexities , difficulties with crowds or other medical factors.
The hospital’s clinics will be staffed with pediatric experts who will help with any children’s problems or needs, hospital spokesman Paddy Moore said.
The hospital stressed that the vaccines are safe and will help protect infants and young children against COVID-19.
“Getting your child vaccinated will help keep them out of the hospital, in daycare or school and in the activities they love, while helping to protect those around them, including grandparents. parents, parents, siblings and other members of their community,” Moore said.
“We urge all parents and caregivers to fully vaccinate all of your children to protect them from the immediate and longer term effects of COVID infection.”
The Middlesex-London Health Unit said it would vaccinate children in mass clinics which had previously been suitable for children aged 5 to 11, as well as in its mobile clinics and primary care offices.
A spokeswoman for the Ontario College of Family Physicians said public health units were expected to begin receiving doses of the vaccine next week and family physicians would be supplied a week or two after that.
The rollout of the pediatric vaccine in Ontario is accelerating as the province faces a seventh wave of infections caused by the infectious BA.5 Omicron subvariant.
Public Health Ontario’s most recent report on the virus through July 16 indicated that case rates were increasing in nearly all public health units, with case rates particularly high in the northwest.
Case rates also rose across all age groups, the report said, with the biggest increase in people aged 80 and over, who saw 56% from the previous week.
Hospital admissions and outbreaks in high-risk settings have also increased, according to the report.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 22, 2022.