Nova Scotia

'Easier than a flu shot': Nova Scotia begins vaccinating children against COVID-19

One-third of Nova Scotia children between 5 and 11 are booked in to receive their first shot of vaccine this month.

Nova Scotia has the capacity to give all eligible children their first shots this month

Jack Woodhead becomes the first child in Nova Scotia to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the IWK Health Centre on Dec. 1, 2021. (CBC)

Eight-year-old Jack Woodhead was a little nervous and excited when he arrived at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax on Wednesday morning.

Jack rolled up his sleeve, and became the first child in Nova Scotia to be vaccinated against COVID–19.

"It didn't really hurt," he said. "It was easier than a flu shot, I find."

Jack was eager to tell his friends about his experience.

"I can be really safe and I can go to more places," he said.

First shot before month's end

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said bookings have been steady since appointments opened for kids aged five to 11.

He said a third of those who now qualify have booked their appointments.

"We are looking to sustain that, and we certainly have the capacity to get all the kids in this age group their first dose of vaccine before Christmas," he said.

Dr. Robert Strang says the province has the capacity to give every eligible child their first shot in the next few weeks. (CBC)

Good uptake is essential, he said, not only for herd immunity across the province, but for the benefit of the children. He said a large number of COVID-19 cases in the province are in that age group.

"Having the five- to 11-year-olds vaccinated will make a major impact on allowing kids to stay in school, stay in their activities as we get into the new year, and that's important for their health," said Strang.

While Jack was eager to get the shot, Strang knows some kids will be nervous. He suggested kids play music on headphones, watch a video or read a book as a distraction during the shot.

"But I've talked to lots of kids who are nothing but excited about getting their vaccination," Strang said of the overall interest.

Jack's mother, Meaghan Woodhead, said it was a great day for her family, knowing that her son now has protection. She's encouraging parents to read the information on the IWK's website to prepare them for their appointments.

"I wasn't nervous about it, I feel like there's been enough research and information provided to us, and that's made me feel more confident in bringing him here today," she said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carolyn Ray

Videojournalist

Carolyn Ray is a videojournalist who has reported out of three provinces and two territories, and is now based in Halifax. You can reach her at Carolyn.Ray@cbc.ca

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