Ontario is opening COVID-19 vaccine bookings on Thursday for children aged six months to under five years old.
They will be able to receive a pediatric Moderna COVID-19 vaccine that is a lower dose (half the amount given to children aged six to 11 years old) in a two-dose series, the province said in a statement last week.
The recommended interval between the doses is eight weeks.
“The approval of a lower dose pediatric Moderna vaccine will give families the opportunity to provide an additional layer of protection against COVID-19 for the youngest members of their families,” Health Minister Sylvia Jones said.
“Getting vaccinated remains the best defence against COVID-19 and I encourage parents with questions to reach out to their health care provider, the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre or the SickKids COVID-19 Vaccine Consult Service to make an informed choice for their family.”
Booking for the shots will open at 8 a.m. on Thursday and a child must have consent from their parent or caregiver to receive a dose.
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The booking process is much the same as it has been in previous times when the province expanded eligibility.
Appointments will be available through the province’s online COVID-19 vaccination portal and can also be made by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900.
Some public health units use their own booking system and appointments can also be made through those.
Participating pharmacies and Indigenous-led vaccination clinics will also be offering the shots.
Lastly, participating primary care providers and pediatricians is another option.
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore reiterated in last week’s statement that COVID vaccines are safe.
He said while most children who get infected have no symptoms or mild symptoms, some can become “very sick.”
“Even if a child has already had COVID-19, vaccination will help to further improve the immune response and provide more robust protection,” he said.
“I encourage every parent and caregiver to consider getting their younger children vaccinated and protected, especially if they are immunocompromised or have other serious medical conditions.”
Immunocompromised individuals aged 12 to 17 will also be able, as of Thursday, to book a fifth COVID-19 shot if at least six months have passed since their fourth.