Walk-in clinics in Prince Rupert will be available for COVID-19 immunizations for children ages five to 11 after booking issues have been acknowledged by Northern Health Authority, they stated, on Dec. 2.
Northern Health is working to rectify the booking system and is aware that some appointment availabilities are not showing up in the provincial booking system, Eryn Collins, communications manager for Northern Health, told The Northern View.
“Prince Rupert is doing drop-in clinics on various dates through December. There will be additional opportunities in the new year. There will be booked appointments in January if families are more interested in booking an appointment.”
Collins said, to ensure the vaccine is as accessible as possible, evening and weekend clinics have been scheduled.
Addressing any concerns of the vaccine not being available in Prince Rupert, Collins said that absolutely is not the case.
“I want to make it clear the vaccine has arrived in Prince Rupert. There is enough vaccine and capacity to ensure everyone who’s registered or wants to walk in, at this point, can get their child immunized.”
The provincial rollout of the children’s vaccination implementation was Dec. 1. Collins explained communities, such as Prince Rupert, will have a delayed start date due to distance from the federal distribution depot. Logistical transportation issues because the vaccine is delivered in a frozen form, safe supply and proper administration all need to be ensured.
She said that the version of the vaccine approved and being administered to children is a pediatric adaption that differs from the adult formula.
“It’s a pediatric version of it. So, it does require some additional training for the immunizing staff to be able to administer it to kids between five and 11. So, we’ve got to make sure all those pieces are in place before we can open the doors,” Collins said.
When asked about some parents taking their children to other municipalities to get vaccinated, Collins said there is plenty of opportunity in Prince Rupert.
“I think that was out of a misunderstanding that there were no opportunities upcoming in Prince Rupert and that’s absolutely not the case,” she said.
“I’m hugely encouraged by the level of eagerness that we are seeing from parents to get their children vaccinated. That is fabulous. That’s good. But, I wouldn’t want anyone to go out of their way if they didn’t absolutely feel they needed to.”
Vaccination drop-in clinics have been scheduled for Prince Rupert on Dec. 6, 7, 13 and 14 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and on Dec. 11 and 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the health unit on Third Ave.
Parents and caregivers are encouraged to register their children on the Get Vaccinated program so they can continue to receive notifications of second vaccines or boosters required. Collins said it needs to be noted that registration is different than booking an appointment.
People in Prince Rupert can register online prior to attending the drop-in clinic or have clinic staff register them when they do attend in person.
“Regardless of the method, they’ll be registered after their first dose. So that means they will get a notification when it’s time for subsequent doses.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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