Ottawa Public Health prepares to vaccinate 77,000 children against COVID-19

OTTAWA — Ottawa Public Health will use after-school pop-up vaccination clinics, neighbourhood vaccination hubs and seven community clinics to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to thousands of children in the coming weeks.

And when your child goes to get their shot, OPH says they can bring their favourite stuffed animal and listen to music to calm fears, while numbing spray will be available to reduce the pain.

With Health Canada expected to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for five to 11 years olds in the coming days, the health unit is unveiling plans to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to 77,000 eligible children.

The goal is to administer a first dose to 77,000 children in Ottawa within four weeks of the vaccination’s authorization and delivery.

“We are turning another corner in our COVID-19 response as we anticipate approval of the vaccine for the children aged 5 to 11 very shortly,” said Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health.

Etches says the COVID vaccine will also be available for children at select pharmacies and family physicians in Ottawa.

“First I want to want to address a question I get from many parents – should I get a COVID-19 vaccine for my child or should I wait? And my answer is this, once the vaccine is approved for children five to 11, don’t wait!” said Dr. Etches on Thursday afternoon.

“It’s only vaccines that are proven to be safe, effective and of high quality that are authorized for use in Canada.”

Vaccine appointments for children ages five to 11 are not yet available. More information on how to book appointments through the booking system will be released soon.

 

“By vaccinating our younger residents, we strengthen the entire community’s immunity from COVID-19 and its highly transmissible variants,” said the health unit in a statement.

Ottawa Public Health says a parent or guardian must be present for a child aged five to 11 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and consent will be required.

Neighbourhood vaccination hubs and community clinics

Ottawa Public Health says it will offer immunizations through its 10 neighbourhood vaccination hubs, and operate seven community clinics seven days a week. The community clinics are:

  • Coming soon – Nepean Sportsplex Curling Rink – 1701 Woodroffe Avenue
  • Coming soon – former St. Patrick’s Intermediate School – 1485 Heron Road
  • Coming soon– Rideauview Community Centre – 4310 Shore Line Drive
  • University of Ottawa – Minto Sports Complex – 801 King Edward Avenue
  • JH Putman School – 2051 Bel-Air Drive
  • Eva James Memorial Centre – 65 Stonehaven Drive
  • Orléans Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA – 265 Centrum Boulevard

After-hours school pop-up vaccination clinics

Ottawa Public Health will operate 73 after-hours school pop-up vaccination clinics on a rotating schedule over a four-week period. The clinics will open within the first week after the arrival of the vaccine in Ottawa.

The clinics will have capacity to immunize up to 10,000 children per week. 

“The school clinics will be held after school hours and no child will be given a vaccine without parental consent,” said Etches.

Vaccine clinics are family-friendly

Ottawa Public Health says it’s mindful that some children may be anxious and have a fear of needles.

“Immunizers understand and are trained to help your child have a comfortable experience,” said the health unit.

Numbing spray will be available at all clinics to reduce pain, and privacy options will be available.

Superhero posters will be set up in clinics, and children will receive stickers are receiving the vaccine.

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