'It's just a prick': Sask. doctor encourages parents to talk to kids about COVID-19 vaccine

While many parents are eager to book their kids for their first COVID-19 vaccine, one Saskatchewan doctor says children could be feeling more anxiety than excitement.

Wednesday marked the first day vaccine clinics were open to Saskatchewan kids ages five to 11.

Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine, an epidemiologist in Saskatoon, says roughly 60 per cent of that age group have some degree of fear towards needles. That is one of the reasons he estimates about 40 to 50 per cent of children will get their shot right away before there is resistance.

“We have to vaccinate 85 to 90 per cent of that age cohort in order to get 85 to 90 per cent of the overall population fully vaccinated,” Muhajarine said.

“That’s going to take some time. I think it will take as long as it has taken to get there for adults 12 and older.”

To help encourage high vaccine uptake, Muhajarine says parents should talk to their kids about the vaccine while explaining the inoculation process.

“It’s just a prick,” he said. “It’s like a mosquito bite, but it will soon go away. The pain will soon go away and this going to keep you healthy.”

The provincial government has 112,000 doses of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine. According to officials, the shipment is enough to give a first dose to every child who wants it.

Officials say roughly 2,000 doses were administered to kids on Wednesday, the first day of pediatric vaccine clinics.