First COVID-19 vaccines for children will be available in Ottawa on Friday, top doctor says

OTTAWA — Ottawa parents will be able to start booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments for their children on Tuesday, with the first doses administered next Friday.

Ottawa Public Health is preparing to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to 77,000 children following Health Canada’s approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children.

“We’re working hard to make sure the booking system will show the appointments available as of Tuesday, and people will be able to have the appointments booked starting on Friday,” said medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches during an interview on CTV News at Six Saturday evening.

Etches said there will be under 2,000 appointments at Ottawa’s community clinics on the first day, and some pharmacies will have appointments on Friday.

“After that, we’ll be up meeting the capacity of at least 26,000 (appointments) a week,” said Etches.

Parents and guardians will be able to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment through the provincial booking system.

Ottawa Public Health says its plan ensures first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be available to 77,000 eligible children ages five to 11 in Ottawa, within four weeks of the vaccine authorization and delivery.  The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech are scheduled to arrive in Canada on Sunday.

Children will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at seven community clinics in Ottawa, operating seven days a week.

“There are currently 10 vaccine hubs in communities where we have learned it’s harder for people to get out to a larger clinic and those are continuing, those will be walk-in for people living in those areas,” said Dr. Etches about other locations available for children to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“And then we will have schools as another avenue. We’ll be advertising with the parents as they’re coming available in the school community, we’ll have our school nurses there and in the surrounding schools helping parents who may not be able to come out to another setting.”

Ottawa Public Health will host 73 after-hours school pop-up vaccination clinics over a four-week period. Vaccinations for children will also be available at some Ottawa pharmacies and family physicians.

CTV News at Six anchor Stefan Keyes asked Dr. Etches if the COVID-19 vaccine will be enough to slow the spread of the Delta variant in the younger age group.

“It will certainly help. We know this vaccine is effective and safe. Just as we see in older children 12 and above, that does protect them from the transmission,” said Etches.

“We’ve seen much less COVID in school for children 12-year-olds and above, so this is what we’re looking to extend downwards and I know many people are looking forward to it.”

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