(Files by Brendan Pawliw – My Prince George Now)

BC’s child vaccination program for kids aged 5 to 11 launches on Monday.

Parents of children who registered will begin receiving their invitations to book appointments, in the order, they were received on the provincial vaccine website.

The announcement is being met with applause from BC Teachers Federation President Teri Mooring.

She told Vista Radio getting this age group vaccinated is key with more infections among school-aged children being reported.

“We are also seeing more outbreaks and school closures this year when we did last year. There is certainly a critical need for everyone to be vaccinated and I think that fast-tracking it is great and November 29th can’t come soon enough.”

“It seems to me that the province is doing a good job in making this as accessible as possible. You can make one appointment for all your children and then you, yourself can get vaccinated and I think that is a really good move.”

According to Dr. Bonnie Henry, there were 457 cases of the virus between Nov. 16-22 in kids aged 5-11

In addition, there were 153 kids aged 12-17 who became infected as well as 111 in the 0-4 age category.

Well over 90-thousand of the 360-thousand eligible children have been registered so far by their parents.

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

Mooring adds when it does become a child’s turn to receive the first dose, making the treatment readily available would be a big help.

“So, whether that’s in schools, in clinics, there need to be multiple ways in which, students and families are able to access those vaccines.”

Another key is to get vaccination rates up in school-aged children in pockets of Northern Health such as Peace River North, South, and the Nechako areas.

“Those are the areas we really need to focus on and make sure there is enough education provided to families around the safety of vaccines and the importance of getting vaccinated and that is an important component to this,” said Mooring.

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.