Ottawa prepares to start vaccinating kids against COVID-19 this week
OTTAWA -- As Ottawa Public Health prepares to begin vaccinating 77,000 Ottawa children against COVID-19 on Friday, family physicians are waiting to find out when they will receive doses.
The first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children arrived in Canada on Sunday; two days after Health Canada approved the modified version of the vaccine for children between the ages of five to 11.
"We'll definitely be on the computer Tuesday morning trying to get a shot as early as we can," said parent Alicia Robblee, who will be booking an appointment for seven-year-old Reid.
Medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches told CTV News Ottawa on Saturday that parents would be able to begin booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments for children on Tuesday, with the first doses administered at community clinics on Friday.
The city will operate seven mass vaccination clinics, ten neighbourhood vaccination hubs and 73 school-based after-school pop-up clinics to administer the vaccine to children.
Meantime, family physicians in Ottawa are pushing for information on when they will receive the COVID-19 vaccine doses to help protect children against the virus.
"Sent an email to Ottawa Health to ask that we receive COVID-19 vaccine in office by Friday, also, so that our patients (kids who preregistered) can come to us," said Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth on Twitter. "Takes pressure off the system Tuesday (when others log into the ON portal)."
Dr. Kaplan-Myrth tells CTV News Ottawa that she's already started scheduling appointments for her young patients, but has no details on when the doses will arrive.
"Yet again we're forgotten, yet again we're begging to please have the vaccine," said Kaplan-Myrth.
"These are kids who have come to us for every single other vaccine since the day that they started getting vaccines when they were two months old."
Kaplan-Myrth is hopeful family physicians will receive vaccines this week.
"Please make sure that it comes to my office midweek so that I can also be immunizing my patients," said Kaplan-Myrth. "That takes pressure off of public health and off of the other systems in place."
Dr. Etches has said the COVID-19 vaccine for children will be available at some Ottawa pharmacies and doctors' offices.
Ottawa Public Health says a parent or guardian must be present for a child aged five to 11 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and consent will be required.
Ottawa parents and guardians will be able to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment for children through the Ontario government's website when the booking system opens.