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BC`s Child Vaccination program kicks off today

BC health officials are rolling out COVID-19 vaccines for kids in the 5-11 age group.

Children need to be registered in Get Vaccinated BC in order to receive an invitation to get vaccinated, over 90-thousand children have been registered so far.

Invitations are being sent out today (Monday) with vaccinations kicking off as well.

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

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“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.

Doctor 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 November 16-22 in kids aged 5-11, there were 153 in kids aged 12-17, and 111 in kids aged 0-4.

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.

BC Teachers Federation President Teri 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.

with files from Brody Langager, Vista Radio staff

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