'A tiny little pinch': Young children start receiving COVID vaccines on Vancouver Island
The first of B.C.'s kids aged five through 11 got their COVID-19 vaccine shot on Monday, including children at the University Heights Shopping Centre in Saanich, B.C.
Lucy Fletcher was one of the children getting her first dose there Monday. She said she was getting vaccinated so she could more easily visit family in northern B.C., who she hadn't seen in nearly two years.
"It hurt a little bit but it was over quickly, and then I got a sticker, which was pretty cool," said the 11-year-old.
Eli Duncan, also 11, got his dose at the same clinic Monday.
"A tiny little pinch and that was it," he said. "It was pretty easy, it was fast."
B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, was on hand at the clinic, marking this latest milestone in the fight against COVID-19.
Henry said, although children don’t tend to get as sick with COVID, that vaccinations for the young cohort are still important.
"Thankfully, it’s mainly mild illness, but it's important to protect them and to allow kids to get back to the things that they've been missing so much," said Henry.
Clinics across the province opened up for youth vaccines on Monday, including up and down Vancouver island.
The second location for the pediatric shots opened at the West Shore Town Centre on Monday.
The clinics setup for this cohort are specifically tailored to young people, observed Michael Monroe, who had two children getting vaccinated Monday.
"[They were] providing a bag for the kids with colouring stickers and characters that just make the process a little more friendly for our kids," said Monroe.
Invitations to book an appointment for a shot started going out Monday morning by text or email — generally based on the order in which families registered for the vaccines.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said about 8,000 invitations were being sent out per hour once the system started rolling.
Island Health said Monday that it had received 27,000 doses of the pediatric COVID vaccine in its initial shipment — enough to vaccinate all those aged 5-11 who had registered to date.
It said it was operating the two children’s clinics Monday, and would gradually increase daily appointments leading up to Friday. Starting Friday, the health authority plans to settle into what it calls the "normal days for pediatric appointments," which it said would be Friday through Sunday.
Parents must provide verbal consent at the time their child gets the shot, or supply written consent for another adult to present.
The province says all who want one will get one by the end of January.