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HomeLocal ConnectionsCOVID-19 vaccinations for children are safe and effective: From a Pediatrician

COVID-19 vaccinations for children are safe and effective: From a Pediatrician

COVID-19 vaccinations for children are safe and effective: From a Pediatrician

My name is Dr. Kirsten Miller and I am a pediatrician in Prince George. I am also a parent to three children, aged 10 to 16.

COVID-19 is still present in our region and while most children who become infected with COVID-19 have a mild illness, that is not true for all of them. Also, many children in our region have been affected by seeing loved ones and family members become extremely ill from this virus.

I would like to encourage parents to have their 5 to 11 year old children vaccinated against COVID-19, and to encourage youth aged 12-18 to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for everyone. I am confident in the scientific evidence for the vaccines, and my own children have been vaccinated.

By having your children vaccinated, you are not only protecting them from the possibility of severe illness, but you are also helping your community by reducing the spread of infection. Please, help keep our communities, family members and children safe by ensuring that all those who are eligible, including children, are vaccinated against COVID-19.

For more information on the benefits and safety of vaccines for children, Children and COVID-19 Vaccinations page on the BCCDC website.

To find a vaccine clinic near you, visit the Northern Health website.

Don’t forget to book your booster dose!

Has it been 6 months since your second COVID-19 vaccine? Don’t forget to book your booster dose! Booster appointments are available in your community. Follow the instructions from your invitation and please book now.

Even if you’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered, you should still get your booster dose. Why? Studies show the strength and length of protection from having COVID-19 varies greatly and will leave many people vulnerable to getting COVID-19 again.

f you were recently infected, you can get your booster once your symptoms have passed. Appointments are available in your community.

Learn more about boosters and book yours today!

When to get a COVID-19 test

As COVID-19 activity increases across BC, guidance for when to get a COVID-19 test has been updated.

A COVID-19 test is not recommended if:

  • You have no symptoms, even if you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive.
  • You are fully vaccinated (two doses), experiencing mild symptoms and can manage your illness at home. Self-isolate for five days. Notify your close contacts so they can self-monitor for symptoms and give them these instructions. 

A COVID-19 test is recommended if:

  • You have symptoms, and:
    • You are at higher risk of severe illness – due to being unimmunized, or immunocompromised
    • You identify with a high risk setting  – such as health care workers, first responders, residents of congregate settings, or live in a remote or rural community 

If you feel unwell and are unsure about your symptoms, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1.

Still not sure? Use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to determine if you need to be tested.

More details and a full list of eligible symptoms and criteria is found here: When to get a COVID-19 test

For more information, visit our COVID-19 testing and self-isolation page.

COVID-19 rapid antigen tests now in use at many Northern Health testing sites

Rapid COVID-19 tests (rapid antigen tests) are now available as take-home kits at some Northern Health testing centres for people with symptoms, in addition to PCR testing. The type of test a person receives will be based on their symptoms and risk factors. Here’s some info that you need to know:

    1. Northern Health Virtual Primary & Community Care Clinic, or contacting their health care provider, and then they will be directed to a testing centre for either PCR testing, or to pick up a rapid test for home use, based on their symptoms and risk. 
    2. All rapid antigen tests used in BC have been scientifically validated and are safe and effective in detecting COVID-19, particularly among those who are symptomatic.
    3. Those who receive a rapid antigen test are provided with instructions for self-reporting a positive result, self-isolation, managing symptoms, and notifying their contacts. They do not require additional testing to confirm their test result.
    4. We want to remind people COVID-19 testing is not recommended if you have no symptoms, or if you have mild symptoms, are fully vaccinated, and can manage your illness at home. 
    5. People without symptoms who require testing for travel purposes can find a private test site here (on the BCCDC site).

For more direction on using rapid tests, contact tracing and what to do after testing positive, visit the BCCDC – Rapid antigen testing for COVID-19.

Northern Health appreciates the continued cooperation, patience, and support of our Northern BC communities! And we want to extend our sincere thanks to our staff providing testing services.

Tested positive for COVID-19?

If you’ve recently tested positive for COVID-19, here’s information on what steps to take and how to notify your close contacts. 

Note: If you were given a rapid antigen test at a COVID-19 testing site, please follow the instructions given to self-report your positive result.

How long do I need to self-isolate?

You can end isolation when all three of these conditions are met:

  1. At least 5 days have elapsed since your symptoms started (10 days if not fully vaccinated) or from your test date if asymptomatic
  2. Your fever has resolved for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  3. Other symptoms have improved or resolved

How do I notify close contacts?

Consider who you were with and where you’ve been in the two days before you started having symptoms up until you started to self-isolate. If you have not had any symptoms and tested positive, consider who you were with and where you’ve been in the two days before your positive test.

Generally, you should notify:

  • People you live with
  • People you had intimate contact with

Give your close contacts these instructions. For more information see COVID-19 testing and self-isolation.

Coming Together in the Northern way of caring

By Kim Matheson

Since February 2020, throughout the challenging and unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, people have shown how resilient they are. In Northern BC, we have seen people come together to help ensure the health and safety of their communities.

In celebration of the work being done, we have developed Coming Together. This publication is a way for us to share a few stories about Northern Health professionals who make a difference in their communities. While we can’t include every story, we hope the ones we were able to share here will help demonstrate the tireless efforts of these dedicated health care professionals.

We will continue to highlight health care professionals, their stories, and communities on the Northern Health Stories site – check back often!



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