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350,000 kids in BC will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday

BC health officials are preparing to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for kids in the 5-11 age range.

Children need to be registered in Get Vaccinated BC in order to receive an invitation to get vaccinated, and about 87,000 children have been registered so far.

Invitations will be sent out on November 29th (Monday), and vaccinations will start on the same day.

The Executive Lead for the BC Immunization rollout team, Dr. Penny Ballem, said invitations will be sent out in order of registration.

“There’s no need to do it starting with the older children in this age group down to the youngest, because really what we want to encourage is families being able to bring all their eligible children in at the same time,” said Ballem.

About 350,000 kids in BC will be eligible for their first dose.

Dr Bonnie Henry said between 60% to 80% of parents in BC have shown interest in getting their children vaccinated once the vaccine is available.

There were 457 cases of the virus between Nov. 16-22 in kids aged 5-11, there were 153 in kids aged 12-17, and 111 in kids aged 0-4.

Per 100,000 population, the number of people aged 12-17 at risk of getting the virus goes from 4,476.5 in unvaccinated kids, to 351.7 in kids partially or fully vaccinated.

Henry also said that infections in children reflect transmission in communities and that transmission in communities reflects overall vaccination rates.

“Particularly in the 0-8 and the 9-11 year age groups, the increases have been most dramatic in the Interior Health region and the Northern Health region. And very recently in the last week, we’ve started to see decreases of those areas again.”

When invitations go out to families, verbal consent will be required from parents before vaccines will be administered to kids.

Ballem said that they will also have supports for children who may be stressed during the session.

“We will also have on site supports. We know that some children are challenged by a fear of needles, a fear of vaccination. They may have special needs, children in the disability community often have special needs, and we will be working to ensure that we have that capacity in our clinics.”

Remote First Nations communities will see health officials offering children’s vaccines around the same time booster shots will be offered for adults 18 and older.

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