Families in Leeds and Grenville ready for young children's COVID-19 vaccine
Thursday will be the first day parents can book their young children aged six months to under five years for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ottawa resident Christine Lavictoire, visiting downtown Brockville for the day, says she plans to get her three-year-old son vaccinated.
"I would like to get him vaccinated as soon as possible to keep him safe, our family, and he goes to daycare right now so to keep the people he goes to school with safe as well," she said.
Her daughter, who is five, received her vaccine when she was eligible.
"We have all these vaccines that we already have to get for children to keep them safe, so I just see the COVID vaccine as another vaccine that is just normal in our life," Lavictoire said.
"It's a big day, we have been waiting for this," smiled Dr. Paula Stewart on a Zoom call with CTV News Ottawa.
The Medical Officer for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit says the vaccine dosage is smaller than what other age groups receive.
"For adults it's 100, for the five to 11's it's 50 micrograms, and for the little ones it's 25 micrograms, so a real reduction based on their body size," she noted, adding it's completely safe.
"So far there are no safety signals, that's a NACI word to anything that we would be concerned about, which is what you would expect, because we're just seeing those local side effects for most ages," Dr. Stewart said.
That includes a sore arm, fatigue or a minor fever. Children will receive two doses, eight weeks apart.
She also noted that if a child has tested positive recently for COVID-19, parents should wait eight weeks until they book their shot to let the immune system recover.
"I'm really excited about this for the little ones," Dr. Stewart said. "Omicron really likes the bronchial tubes, Delta liked the lung itself, caused pneumonia, caused death.
"Omicron likes the bronchial tubes and for the little ones they are really small and when they get inflamed it's really hard for them to breathe and some end up in hospital including in ICU," she added.
"Little kids are used to getting vaccines. Their immune system is just primed, ready to go."
She noted COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the region, with the last two weeks showing twice the number of new infections as the previous two weeks, with wastewater samples continuing to go up.
Dr. Stewart says the rise in cases has to do with the Omicron variation mutation and that people are going out and having closer interactions.
For Cornwall resident James Myers, also visiting Brockville for the day, he says his six-month-old son Rory will also receive the vaccine.
"He just had his last ones about a week ago for his six months, and then he goes again in another six months," Myers said.
His paediatrician is already including the COVID-19 shot in his normal vaccine schedule.
"It's all planned for them as long as you're willing to get them so it's all set up and you just show up," he added. "I don't think (COVID) is ever over, and there's still lots of other diseases and viruses and stuff out, so the safer they can be the better."
In Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, appointments can only be made over the phone through the vaccine call centre at 1-844-369-1234.
"Think about making it a really good experience," Dr. Stewart added. "The vaccine isn't one of the really painful ones, it's like a little pinch so I think that's what parents can do to have the kids ready and then have a really good experience."
"If you're on the fence just think about," Lavictoire said. "I would say think about your child first, I know I definitely don't want my kids getting sick, and especially when you see how sick kids possibly can get, I don't want to give them the risk."
Other parents that spoke with CTV News Ottawa either declined to comment, or said they do not plan to get their children vaccinated.
Health officials said there is enough supply come Thursday to meet the demand.