“That didn’t hurt at all,” said six-year-old Benny Hogg after receiving his pediatric dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Masham.
The young Edelweiss boy was the first child to receive the dose at the Masham CLSC clinic on Nov. 24 after his mother, Victoria Swiatlowski, booked his appointment following the announcement of vaccines for kids just a day before.
The CLSC staff in Masham was so excited to welcome their first child vaccine recipient that they awarded Hogg a vaccination certificate and a Paw Patrol toy named “Rubble.”
Swiatlowski wasn’t the only parent rushing to book an appointment, as nearly 20 per cent of the children living in the Outaouais aged 5-11 had already been booked to be vaccinated just over 24 hours after the regional health service began accepting appointments.
Nency Héroux, director of the the Outaouais Integrated Health and Social Services Center’s (CISSSO) vaccination campaign, along with Gatineau Olympics mascot Hully, announced the region’s vaccination campaign on Nov. 24. The announcement included 10-year-old Jade Archambault, and her eight-year-old brother, Antoine, who both rolled up their sleeves at the Palais des Congrès de Gatineau to become two of the first children in the region to receive their first dose.
Héroux announced at the press conference that 7,000 of the 22,000 available first dose vaccination appointments had already been filled. According to data from CISSSO, more than 33,000 children aged 5-11 are now eligible to be vaccinated in the region.
Exclusive vaccination periods have been reserved for the younger age group, to avoid mixing age groups and to provide a more comfortable atmosphere for children and parents. Héroux added that this would also allow for vaccinators and evaluators to take more time to make the experience as easy as possible.
CISSSO will also be publishing a schedule indicating times when support dogs will be present at vaccination sites should parents want an added level of support for their anxious child.
Hully the panda also starred in a video along with the Archambaults, produced by CISSSO, which children are invited to watch before their meeting, so that they know what to expect. You can watch the video in English here: bit.ly/3lCyucL.
Vaccinations will also be offered in schools, with CISSSO travelling to 54 of the region's 125 schools, as well as offering transportation to mobile or mass vaccination sites for the remainder. Appointments are also available outside of school time, and can be scheduled by visiting portal3.clicsante.ca.