Children between 6 months and 5 years old can get COVID-19 vaccine in N.L. starting Monday
Children will get 2 doses, 8 weeks apart
Starting Monday, children between the ages of six months and five years can receive a COVID-19 vaccination in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Parents and guardians can book appointments online through the provincial government's COVID-19 website.
On Thursday, acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Rosann Seviour said the province's health authorities will be opening vaccine clinics daily. Anyone who doesn't see availability in their area immediately should continue checking the website for updates, she said. The shot for this age group will not be available by pharmacists.
"This vaccine is 25 micrograms, which is one-quarter of the dose of the Moderna SpikeVax vaccine that we offer for adults. For our youngest age group, the series consists of two doses," Seviour said.
"Real world experience has shown that the vaccine works very well in preventing hospitalizations and severe illness."
Doses are spaced eight weeks apart. Children who are immunocompromised will receive three doses to boost their immune response, Seviour said, and in those situations those doses can be administered four to eight weeks apart.
Children five years old and up will still receive the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine.
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Children who have had a COVID-19 infection can get a vaccine shot once they've recovered, said Seviour.
"While the majority of COVID-19 infections in young children are mild, we know that some children will become very sick and some will require hospitalization and some even ICU admission," she said.
"We have seen increased hospitalizations in the six-month to five-year age groups since the rise of the Omicron variant."
There are about 18,000 children in N.L. in the age group who, as of Monday, are eligible for a vaccine dose.
Seviour said 62.2 per cent of residents over 12 years old have gotten at least three doses of vaccine to date with Newfoundland and Labrador leading the country.