Renfrew County hosts first COVID-19 vaccination clinic for children
PEMBROKE, ONT. -- About 100 children in Renfrew County now have their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine after a successful first clinic by the Renfrew County and District Health Unit.
The very first child in the county to be vaccinated was 6-year-old Malcom Studham, who says the shot didn't hurt one bit.
"Well, it's actually pretty exciting I think," said Malcom's father Brad Studham to CTV News Ottawa. "We're hopefully looking forward to getting back to some normalcy. He started hockey this year so obviously happy about that."
Booking for the county's first appointments opened Tuesday morning, which the health unit says were snatched up in a flash.
"Our estimate is that there is over 7,000 kids in the five to 11-year-old age range, and within the first 48 hours we had over 1,000 bookings," says Andrew Keck, manager of the vaccine rollout in Renfrew County.
The health unit says they will be releasing more booking slots in the coming week for clinics in areas like Deep River, Pembroke, Renfrew, and Arnprior. There are also 14 pharmacies across the county who are offering the shot to kids.
"We're going to start off looking at potentially 70 per cent as a target," says Keck, which means vaccinating roughly 4,900 children. "But by all means our real target is higher than that. We want to get as many people vaccinated as possible."
Keck says going forward, the health unit will be able to vaccinate between 150 and 200 children per clinic. Given those numbers, the health unit hopes to have a first dose in the arm of most kids in the county by the end of December.
With winter recreational sports starting up and cases continuing to surface at local public schools, it was a priority for many parents, like Sarah Davies, to get their children booked in on the first day.
"I was driving to work and I had to pull over to the side of the road to make sure we got booked in," says Davies, who's nine-and 11-year-old daughters received their first dose. "Their class was shut down for a bit just recently, so we're glad to start the trek of hopefully not having to do that as often."
"I was a little nervous," says Davies' daughter Nia about getting the shot. "And then I didn't even feel it."
During the process of receiving the shot, health care workers offer a variety of distractions to kids such as squeeze toys, bubble wrap, and craft supplies, as well as a sticker and colouring sheet to take with them while they wait 15 minutes afterwards. Keck says for any parents worried about accommodations for having their child vaccinated to contact the health unit.
Overall, it is a huge sense of relief for Davies to have her kids vaccinated, but with having to wait eight weeks between doses, there is still no big plans for the holidays.
"We'll stick to just a few people over."