The Vancouver Coastal Health region has announced that COVID-19 vaccines for infants and children aged six months to four years are available as of today (August 2).
Parents or guardians of children whose ages fall within that age are "strongly" encouraged to register them in the provincial Get Vaccinated system, according to an August 2 VCH bulletin.
Eleven special child-centred vaccination clinics will be in operation in VCH communities to facilitate the program. Once registered, children's parents will be notified to book an appointment with their closest clinic.
VCH estimates that up to 45,000 infants and children in the health region are eligible for the shot. In the entire province, approximately 208,000 are qualified to be registered.
"Clinic staff are trained in the delivery of childhood COVID-19 immunizations, and are committed to making it a positive experience for families," the VCH bulletin said. "The majority of clinics have established separate quiet spaces for children with special needs such as autism, sensory processing, or needle phobia."
Information on preparing children for a vaccination can be located here on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website. If parents have further questions about childhood COVID-19 vaccinations, VCH encourages them to call their family doctor or a nurse practitioner; health enquiries can also be made by phone at 8-1-1.
Although infants and children from six months to four years of age are generally considered to be at a lower risk of dangerous health outcomes from COVID-19 infections when compared to older age groups, vaccination will reduce that risk even more.
Two doses of the vaccine are recommended for maximum efficacy, with an eight-week interval between shots.
On July 14, Health Canada authorized the use of the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine for infants and preschoolers. VCH noted in its release that the federal agency has "rigorously reviewed efficacy and safety data to ensure the vaccine is safe, with a low risk of side effects".
All regional health authorities will offer the vaccine by appointment as of August 2, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced on the ministry's website on July 14. "B.C. has the capacity and experience to deliver this COVID-19 vaccination campaign for this new age group,” Dix said.
“Since the start of the vaccination campaign in B.C., almost 12 million doses have been administered to eligible people," Dix continued. "I encourage parents to register their kids under the age of five, so they are invited to book an appointment, starting on Aug. 2.”