Pediatric COVID-19 vaccines now available

Children as young as six months are now eligible to receive the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccination clinics for children under the age of five will be held separately from regular clinics. They’ll be smaller and more intimate to offer more privacy. Every effort will be made to reduce anxiety and needle-related fears for children, York Region assures.

Clinical trials have shown the lower-dose Moderna Spikevax vaccine is safe and effective for children in this age group, the Region reports. Those trials showed a comparable immune response to those aged 18 to 25 years from a previous study. The vaccine was well tolerated with no safety concerns reported.

While most infected children and youth have mild symptoms and are less likely to get really sick from COVID-19, some can still require hospitalization for complications, such as difficulty breathing, be infected without showing symptoms and spread COVID-19 to others, experience longer-term effects if they do get infected, and get a rare but serious complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, the federal government reports. It also offers tips on how to talk to your children about vaccinations.

Immunocompromised youth aged 12 to 17 are also eligible to schedule their second booster dose or fifth dose if at least six months have passed since their first booster or fourth dose. You might be eligible if you are a transplant recipient, including solid organ transplant and hematopoietic stem cell transplants, among other health conditions.

Parents and caregivers of children aged six months to under five years can book appointments for the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine through the provincial booking portal, the provincial Vaccine Contact Centre, participating primary care providers and pediatricians, participating pharmacies and Indigenous-led vaccination clinics.

COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages six months to under five years will also be available at York Regions clinics by appointment only and can be booked through york.ca/covid19vaccine. Appointments can also be booked by phone beginning at 8:30 a.m. by calling Access York at 1-877-464-9675.

Clinic staff are available to help answer questions that parents, guardians and children may have before, during and after vaccination. Parents can call York Region Health Connection at 1.800.361.5653 to speak with a registered nurse for accurate public health related information. The Region is working to add more clinics for younger children as available appointments filled very quickly.

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