Thousands of Maritime children prepare for COVID-19 vaccine

Thousands of children aged five to 11-years-old across the Maritimes are preparing to get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Saturday, more than ten thousand appointments had been booked in New Brunswick. In Nova Scotia, parents were quick to jump online when bookings opened Friday.

Judy Harvey was one of them. Her son just turned 12 and will be vaccinated Dec. 9.

“I've always wanted it since last year but I couldn't get it because I was 11 and yeah I think it's going to be really good,” her son Darius said.

Twins Rori and Georgia Gillis are also counting down the days.

Their mother, Holly Gillis, is the director of public health with Nova Scotia Public Health. The 11-year-old girls understand the disruptions COVID-19 has caused by cancelling classes at school and sports.

Georgia knows why she wants the vaccine.

“So I can do my sports and go out to eat,” she said.

“More protected and safe,” her twin sister Rori said.

IWK Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Jeannette Comeau says no corners have been cut in approving these vaccines.

Comeau said the data provided by Pfizer evaluated more than 3000 children who received the vaccine, evaluating its efficacy and its side effects.

She says side effects may include a sore arm or a fever but if that happens, she recommends treating the child with medication.

“In the clinical trials there were actually no cases of myocarditis or pericarditis in the children,” she said, adding the extremely rare side effect is much more likely to occur if someone contracts COVID-19.

“We’re watching very closely.”

COVID-19 vaccines for children are a third of the dose given to adolescents and adults and have now been widely administered in the United States after it was approved about a month ago.

“We continue to have an active surveillance program even after we’ve approved vaccines so we’re continuing to monitor, continuing to make sure the safety profile is as it looked. So I’m very confident in these vaccines,” she said.

For anyone who is nervous about getting vaccines - a feeling she says is very normal, Dr. Comeau encourages people looking at some of the resources created by the IWK.