Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia opens vaccine bookings for children under 5 years, boosters for pregnant people

Children between the ages of six months to under five years old can be booked for their COVID vaccine in Nova Scotia starting Thursday.

Initial supply of vaccine for age group will be limited before next shipment from federal government

The first vial of paediatric COVID-19 vaccine used in Toronto. (The Canadian Press)

Children between the ages of six months to five years old can now be booked for their COVID vaccine in Nova Scotia.

The Nova Scotia government quietly opened the booking website for children between six months and four years of age to get the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday evening.

The province originally said the site would be ready for bookings in early August. Bookings for as soon as Aug. 1 were on the site Wednesday night. 

The province said the initial supply of the vaccine for children in that age group will be limited, but more appointments will be added once shipments from the federal government arrive.

Health Canada authorized the Moderna Spikevax mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for use on July 14 as a two-dose primary series in children six months to five years of age. The province is following the National Advisory Committee on Immunization's recommendation that children receive two doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least eight weeks apart.

Children who are immunocompromised will need three doses of the vaccine with a minimum of four weeks between the first and second dose and eight weeks between the second and third dose.

Children are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after their last dose.

NACI suggests children who have been infected with COVID-19 should wait eight weeks before they begin or complete their COVID vaccinations. If children are receiving other routine pediatric vaccines, the routine vaccines are only to be administered at a minimum of 14 days before or after the COVID vaccine. 

The province estimates there are around 34,000 children aged six months to four years old in Nova Scotia.

This spring, pharmacists and technicians in the province were authorized to provide vaccines to children ages six months and over to better support COVID and flu vaccinations. 

Vaccines during pregnancy

The province advises pregnant people who have not received the vaccination during their pregnancy and expect to give birth before Nov. 30 to get an additional COVID vaccine as soon as possible. 

It also said pregnant people face an increased risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19 and that evidence suggests that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy provides immunity to both the pregnant person and the fetus. 

Appointments can be booked on the provincial website or by calling 1-833-797-7772. 

Parents eager to book

Many parents say they are eager to book COVID vaccine appointments for their children. 

Health Minister Michelle Thompson said the province is expecting a lot of interest in vaccinations for this age group. 

"We opened the website a little bit early in advance of the release to make sure that everything was in working order. And so by this morning, when the release went out, we actually had parents who had already booked the vaccination," said Thompson. 

Victoria Estrella, a Nova Scotian parent to two young children, said she feels at ease about the children's vaccine because it adds an additional layer of protection for them. 

"It's not that good for them to use masks all the time. In a way, I feel they are going to be more secure about COVID."

Victoria Estrella says she is ready to book a COVID vaccine appointment for her children as soon as possible. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

Joanna Hockley, another mother of two children under five, said it isn't the vaccine that's worrisome but rather the routine COVID testing. 

She said she will book vaccines for her two children as soon as she can. 

"The testing of children was horrendous. Especially for children under four. [He's] still traumatized by the testing process," Hockley said about her son. 

She said she wasn't worried that it took this long to roll out the vaccines for this age group.

"We trust the scientists that are working behind it. I'd rather they take the time to make sure it's OK before they try it out on our kids," said Hockley. 

Hockley said she plans to book an appointment as soon as possible.

"My son has asthma and he got it and I was so afraid the whole way through the two years and he had no symptoms," she said 

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