COVID-19 vaccine dose for children 5-11 have ben arriving in the northwest. (Photo courtesy Pfizer)

COVID-19 vaccine dose for children 5-11 have ben arriving in the northwest. (Photo courtesy Pfizer)

Childhood COVID vaccines arriving in the area

Overall, vaccination rate remains low

Northern Health is slowly rolling out its childhood COVID vaccination clinic dates following a slight delay in the arrival of the vaccine in the north due to bad weather last week.

The vaccine for children age 5 – 11 received federal approval the end of November following testing as to the applicability of the size of the dose compared to teens and adults.

Data to date indicates that while youngsters contracting the COVID-19 virus may not become as ill as older children and adults, they can transmit the virus to others, presenting more challenges in halting its spread.

Beginning tomorrow, Dec. 9, and again on Dec. 19, the Granisle Health Centre is hosting a clinic for all ages, including children 5 – 11. Each clinic is from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

As of late last week, Northern Health was planning for a clinic which was scheduled yesterday and one tomorrow, Dec. 9, for people 12 years and older.

A clinic for children age 5 to 11 is to happen on Dec. 16, said Eryn Collins from Northern Health.

Holding clinics at schools when classes are not in session would be unlikely, she said.

The arrival of vaccine for children comes as in Houston, clinic times had been trimmed back recently.

The reduction is not an admission that Northern Health thinks it has reached the limit of how many people in the Houston area want to be vaccinated, said Collins.

Houston and area has among the lowest rates for first and second doses among people age 12 and over in the northwest and among the lowest rates specifically for those between 12 and 17 in the northwest.

For the week ending Nov. 30, for example, there was no increase among people age 12 and over receiving a first dose, indicates data released by Northern Health.

“What we are doing is making adjustments to meet demand,” Collins said of the fewer people wishing to be vaccinated resulting in reduced Houston clinic availability.

From evening and afternoon times, clinic hours had been cut back recently to just afternoon times.

In both communities, walk ins are welcome but for those who have had first and second doses and who are now in line for booster shots must have made prior appointments.

And in both communities there won’t be any clinics between Dec. 20 and Jan. 4.

Similar Christmas and New Year’s closure periods are being put in place at other Northern Health locations in the north.