Children under five are now able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in B.C. and for one Vancouver family, the decision to vaccinate was simple.
“For me it was really important because my children spend time with their grandparents and my daughter spends time at preschool so this just felt like the best choice for our family,” says Amy, mom of daughter Cora, age 3, and son Dylan, 13 months.
Health Canada approved the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine in July.
Parents in B.C. can register their children through the
Get Vaccinated system
and will be sent a link to book an appointment. The vaccine helps protect against severe illness and it is the first time since the pandemic began that B.C.’s youngest children can get protected through vaccination.
Amy booked appointments for her two young children to get their first doses in August. They will go back for their second dose 8 weeks later.
Amy says the vaccination experience was smooth. She booked appointments for Cora and Dylan at the same time. Her husband Ben took Dylan and she went with Cora.
Cora was a bit nervous at the beginning of the appointment but the nurse helped distract her and asked her to look at the clock. Amy doesn’t think Cora even noticed the needle. She also held Cora during the vaccination to help comfort and hold her still.
Amy’s family had to wait the 15 minutes after the vaccines just like for adults in case anyone experienced a reaction. Otherwise, they were in and out and each child got to pick out a sticker to take home.
Amy's family after their children's vaccine appointments
While Dylan is too young to understand vaccinations, Amy and Ben took time to discuss the appointment with Cora.
“She is the type of child who likes to get the chance to ask questions,” says Amy.
Amy admits that Cora wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a vaccination but after they discussed the reasons to get vaccinated, she was okay with it. They also explained that Cora could take a toy to the appointment for extra comfort.
Stephanie Meier, senior practice leader with BCCDC’s immunization team, says for most children, talking about the vaccination a day or two in advance is enough. She also recommends focusing on the reasons for vaccination instead of on the needle.
“Be open and honest with your children and really help them to understand why they are being vaccinated,” says Stephanie.
“Help them plan how they are going to get through the experience and how they are going to feel comfortable.”
During the appointment, parents can help distract their child and hold them closely to help comfort them and hold them still. Stephanie says that the immunizers at the clinics are trained in making the vaccination experience as easy as possible for both children and families.
Both Amy and Ben were vaccinated as soon as they became eligible and they made the same choice for their children. They see the COVID-19 vaccinations as part of routine immunizations like the many other diseases their children are protected against.
“Looking at the COVID-19 vaccine, I think of it like the flu vaccine. It’s just something that we do to protect them,” says Amy.