Health Canada and NACI have approved the Pfizer-BioNtech (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11.

Children aged five to 11 are now eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccine appointment starting November 23 in Timiskaming.

A big thank you to all parents who completed the 5-11 years old COVID-19 roll out survey last month to help us in our planning for this age group. We heard that you prefer quiet, private, office-based environments for your children. Therefore, together with our valuable community partners,  we will be offering COVID-19 vaccinations for children by appointment only at:

  • Community clinics beginning November 29: Environment will be quieter and more private than a standard mass clinic: Book using the provincial booking system at ontario.ca/bookvaccine or call 866 747-4305, Ext. 6. To book an appointment online, children must be turning five years old by the end of 2021 (born in 2016).
  • Primary care office clinics beginning December 6: if your provider is participating in this rollout, you will be called and offered an in-office appointment. (Primary clinic appointments are not available through the online booking system.)
  • Participating pharmacies: COVID-19 pharmacy vaccine locations (ontario.ca)

See Full Schedule: https://www.timiskaminghu.com/90513/COVID-19-Vaccine#CurrentClinics


Benefits to being vaccinated:

  • Seeing and protecting grandparents and others
  • Reducing the likelihood of outbreaks and keeping schools open
  • Visiting friends
  • Attending recreational activities 
  • Getting the vaccine is one of the best ways to protect yourself from COVID-19

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread and reduce the impact of infectious diseases, whether it is the seasonal influenza or childhood infections such as chickenpox. While many people infected with COVID-19 experience only mild illness, others may get a severe illness or even die or have long lasting effects. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you are not at increased risk of severe complications.

Vaccine Safety

 

Visit the Health Canada website for information about vaccines, types of vaccines and on-going safety monitoring.

 

How Vaccines are Tested and Studied for Children and Youth

Health Canada evaluates drugs and vaccines before they can be sold in Canada. They also monitor real-world evidence while they are on the market.

When a company decides it would like to sell a drug or vaccine in Canada, it files a submission with Health Canada. A new drug submission contains detailed scientific information about the drug's safety, efficacy and quality.

Health Canada scientific reviewers evaluate data to assess the potential benefits and risks of a drug or vaccine. They also review the information that will be provided to health care practitioners and consumers about the product. After the review, they may authorize the drug or vaccine for sale in Canada only if the benefits of the product outweigh the potential risks.

Learn more about the drug and vaccine authorizations for COVID-19 on Health Canada's website.  After approval, vaccines are continually monitored through a “vaccine safety surveillance” to ensure their safety.

 

Learn all about the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11

Max the Vax was created to provide caregivers and the children they look after to be able to make informed, educated decisions about being vaccinated against COVID-19. It was developed by a team of Canadian physicians, scientists, and health care providers to share trusted, evidence-based content about COVID-19 and vaccines.

FAQ: For Youth (PDF)

FAQ: For Caregivers (PDF)  

Learn more here: Ontario Association of Chidren's Aid Societies https://www.oacas.org/what-we-do/communications-and-public-engagement/maxthevax/  

A storybook for children:  Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine (PDF)


Preparing Your Child

Needles can be scary for some children and their parents. The CARD system (Comfort, Ask, Relax, Distract) provides groups of strategies that can be used before and during vaccination to make the experience a more positive one for you and your child. Learn how you and your child can play your cards to reduce the pain, stress and worries associated with vaccinations: Improving the vaccination experience: A guide for parents and caregivers (PDF)

BEFORE the Appointment:

Children are very aware of the emotions of their caregivers. Although immunizations may be stressful for you, try to be calm when talking about immunization with your child. Use a matter-of-fact, supportive approach.

   

The CARD Systems for Parents/Caregivers (PDF)

  • Offer an honest explanation about what to expect. Prepare older children the day before.
  • Provide balanced information. Do not say that vaccination will not hurt. Instead, describe sensations (e.g., Some people say they feel “pressure” or a “pinch” or “nothing at all”) and duration (e.g., it lasts “about a second”) and invite your child to tell you how it felt (e.g., “I don’t know how it will feel for you. Let me know how it felt when you are done.”)
  • Involve and listen to your child. They often have helpful suggestions for how to manage their pain (for example, they can choose a toy to bring).

Explain what pain is. Pain actually happens in our brain! When we sense something that MIGHT be dangerous, our nerves send a warning signal to our brain. That warning signal can be felt as pain. It lets the brain know our bodies MIGHT be in danger and helps us escape to safety, IF we need to. The great news is that when you are getting a poke, your body is not in danger, so you don't need any pain signal! Needle pokes are to help you get or be healthy... they are SAFE. This means you can use some cool strategies to turn any pain signal down and even off, so you can be more comfortable.

  • Discuss importance of sitting still and how they want to sit. Plan on a comforting restraint hug to cuddle your child firmly in your lap in a seated position. Being held close to you calms your child and helps keep legs and arms still so vaccines can be given safely. Sitting upright helps children feel more secure and in control. Needle Related Fainting: Why does it happen? What to do about it? (PDF)
  • Plan if they want to see the needle and know when the nurse will poke them or not and inform the nurse of their wishes
  • Topical anesthetics are medicines that temporarily numb the skin and reduce the pain from the needle poke. They are sometimes called ‘numbing creams.’ They can be purchased from a pharmacy. Apply the product according to the package instructions generally 60 minutes before the appointment. Supervise your child after you apply the product.  
  • Practice squeezing their knees together just in case they feel faint or dizzy. 

DAY OF the AppointmentHave a snack before and after. Ensure they are dressed in a top that lets their upper arm be exposed or reached easily.
 

DURING the Appointment:

 

  • Talk to your child what they can do to ease the pain (for example, sit still, use distraction, and relaxing the arm).
  • Draw your child's attention away from the needle. This is one of the best ways that you can help your child if that is what they want.
  • Distract your child with a favourite toy or blanket, a book, music, singing, or telling a joke or a story.
  • Tell your child to take a deep breath and to blow it out slowly as if they were blowing out a candle. 
  • For older children, bring a book or media player so they can read or listen to music. 

 

 

After the vaccination

Be positive and help your child feel good about the experience. Avoid focusing on the pain. Give praise to your child; consider such phrase as “You did a fantastic job”, or “Now you know you can do it!” 

Review any information your health care provider gives you about vaccines, especially information that describes any mild reactions that might happen. These reactions are normal and will go away very quickly.


Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI)

An adverse event following immunization (AEFI) is an unwanted or unexpected health effect that happens after someone receives a vaccine, which may or may not be caused by the vaccine. Monitoring AEFIs is an important part of all vaccine programs and contributes to the success of any immunization program. All clients receiving the COVID-19 vaccine are advised to contact their primary care provider or call the health unit if they are experiencing an AEFI. When a medical provider reports an AEFI, they complete a form and then send it to their local public health unit for investigation and assessment.

All AEFIs are thoroughly investigated by Public Health Nurses and signed off by the Medical Officer of Health. The Timiskaming Health Unit has reported to date (October 1) 94 AEFIs after 47,729 doses administered. Most of these events were local reactions and were fully self-resolving. Learn more about AEFIs related to Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine program here: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/about/blog/2021/covid-19-vaccine-safety-surveillance.

 

Questions about COVID-19 vaccines for children and youth?

Not really sure about the COVID-19 vaccine or the information you’ve seen?   

  • Speak with a doctor at VaxFacts who understands you may have questions or concerns, or just want to learn more: www.shn.ca/vaxfacts/ or call 416-438-2911, Ext. 5738. 
  • Speak with a pediatric nurse (via SickKids) to ask your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for children and youth: www.sickkids.ca or call 437-881-3505. 
  • Speak with a Timiskaming Health Unit nurse at 866-747-4305, Ext 7, your health care provider or pharmacist. 

 

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