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Health Canada has approved the Moderna Spikevax vaccine for children six months to less than five years. At this time, Pfizer has not yet been approved for this age group.
Parents and guardians of all children age six months up to five years may now book appointments online or by calling 1-833-Sask-VAX (1-833-727-5829).
With limited doses available, it is possible that the SHA will fully administer those doses before the next vaccine delivery arrives in August. Once appointments for the July vaccine allotment are filled, appointments for children under five will be paused until additional vaccine supply is delivered.
The SHA will offer this pediatric vaccine across the province. A variety of clinics will be offered, including walk-in, booked appointments and with extended hours. Indigenous Services Canada and Northern Inter-Tribal Authority will be operating vaccination clinics in First Nation and Metis communities.
If scheduling your child’s routine vaccinations (i.e. MMR, varicella), speak to your public health staff about receiving the COVID-19 immunization at the same time.
Pharmacists cannot provide vaccinations to children younger than five years; therefore pharmacies will not be participating in this phase of the vaccine rollout.
Clinical trial findings show that a primary series of the Moderna Spikevax vaccine for children less than five years vaccine produces an immune response for that age group equivalent to the immune response seen in young adults 18 to 25 years of age who receive the Moderna Spikevax primary series.
Children six months to less than five years will receive 25 mcg which is half the dosage of the Moderna Spikevax vaccine (50 mcg) given to children six to 11 years of age.
You can read and/or print the Moderna Spikevax pediatric vaccine information, safety and after care sheets.
A parent/legal guardian must be present to provide verbal, informed consent. If the parent chooses an adult designate (e.g. grandparent, aunt) to accompany the child for a vaccine, a consent form signed by the parent/guardian must be presented.
Moderately to severely immunocompromised children includes individuals with the following conditions:
Which vaccines are approved for my child?
Please visit the Health Canada site for information on approved vaccines.
I want my child under five to receive the Pfizer vaccine. When can I do that?
Pfizer is currently only approved for age five and up. It is anticipated approval for Pfizer vaccine for children less than five years will happen but currently there is no timeframe for this. In the meantime, parents are encouraged to get the Moderna vaccine for their children less than five years.
Can my child receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as their regularly scheduled childhood immunizations? (i.e. MMR, varicella, etc.)
Yes. When making an appointment for your child to receive their routine childhood vaccinations, speak to the public health staff about your children receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as well.
My child is afraid of needles. Is there anything I can do to help?
Parents or guardians will be required to attend the clinic or appointment to support their child during vaccination. Children can bring comfort items with them such as stuffed toys. The SHA is focusing on family-friendly clinics and don't be surprised if you see a therapy dog at the clinic.
There are lots of good online resources for helping you make your child comfortable with suggestions for distractions or deep breaths and how to talk to your child about immunization.
Is it mandatory to get my child vaccinated? Can schools require vaccination?
Vaccinations are not mandatory in Saskatchewan.
If kids are less likely to get really sick, why does my child need to be vaccinated?
Children are at a lower risk of serious illness compared to adults, but they are still at risk from infection with COVID-19 and may face serious illness, complications and even death.
Not only can the COVID-19 disease make a child very ill, it can also lead to other conditions such as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) where different body parts such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs become inflamed, which is most common in children aged 5 to 11.
Early studies also show that children can get long COVID, indicating that one to four per cent of children with a COVID-19 infection had lasting symptoms. Symptoms include tiredness, headache, sore throat, and loss of smell. Children can get long COVID even after a mild illness.
Immunizing your child not only protects them, but the rest of your household, your loved ones and your community by decreasing the risk of transmission, which in turn decreases the number of people who will become ill with COVID-19.
I'm worried that the vaccines were developed really fast. Are they safe for children?
Clinical trials of this vaccine have demonstrated they are safe for children ages six months to five years.
Will the vaccine change my child's DNA or cause infertility?
No. The vaccines are safe and very effective at preventing serious illness and death. The vaccine will not change DNA or cause infertility.
Will my child experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?
It is possible your child may experience some side effects from receiving any vaccine. The side effects are usually mild and are a sign that the vaccine is working in the body to build protection against COVID-19.
Common side effects are a sore or red arm, tiredness, chills, fever, headache, nausea, and muscle/joint pain. Side effects usually go away after a few days.
What are the serious side effects of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in children?
No new or unexpected serious side effects were seen in the Moderna vaccine trials for children in this age group. Serious side effects, like anaphylaxis (a severe allergy), after immunization are rare – occurring in 0.0008 percent of all Moderna COVID-19 immunizations to people over the age of five.
Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) and of the sac around the heart (pericarditis) can happen rarely after COVID-19 vaccines. These conditions are more likely for young males aged 12-29 after their second dose, are usually mild and are treatable with rest and anti-inflammatory medicines. There were no instances of myo/pericarditis identified in clinical trials for six month to five year old children.
These conditions happen far more often after a COVID-19 infection than after immunization.
What are the long-term side effects of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in children?
There is no evidence of any long-term side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine in children. mRNA vaccines, such as the Moderna Spikevax vaccine, have been studied in humans since 2013 with no known long-term effects. Vaccines do not impact fertility or alter your genes (DNA).
How can I treat my child's COVID 19 vaccine side effects?
If your child feels pain or discomfort where they got their COVID 19 vaccine, try placing a cool, wet washcloth on the area. Encourage them to exercise or move the area.
Pain or fever-reducing medications may be given to your child if they are experiencing side effects. Make sure you always give your child the appropriate dose of any medication. Offer plenty of fluids to encourage hydration.
It is not recommended that you give your child any pain-relieving medications before they get their COVID 19 vaccine to prevent side effects.
My child has additional medical issues or allergies. Is it safe for them to be vaccinated?
Yes, the COVID 19 vaccine is safe and recommended for children with chronic or underlying medical conditions.
Children with certain medical conditions – including diabetes, sickle cell disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, kidney disease and more – may be more likely to get severely ill if they get COVID 19. Therefore, it's even more important to make sure these children get vaccinated.
How far apart will the vaccines for children under five? Will they need boosters?
Initial recommendations are that children under five receive this two-dose vaccine with an eight week interval between the first and second dose. Children who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should receive three doses with an interval of four to eight weeks between doses. Families may have the option of reducing these intervals to 28 days, once the province has received adequate vaccine supply.
We don't know yet if children will need a COVID-19 booster. Experts will continue to monitor how long the vaccine is effective and how well it is working against COVID 19 variants.
Can my child get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the flu shot?
Yes. In most cases the seasonal influenza vaccine will be available at the same clinics offering the pediatric vaccination.
My child already had COVID; should they still get vaccinated?
Yes. Your child should get immunized even if they already had COVID 19. Studies have shown that the vaccines can trigger a COVID 19 immune response stronger than the one naturally present in people who had COVID 19, as well as providing longer lasting protection.
How will I get proof of vaccination for my child?
Parents/guardians are able to access their child's immunization record through MySaskHealthRecord. Parents/guardians must have an account themselves, and the child's information can be linked. Parents/guardians with MySaskHealthRecord who have not already made a request for access to a child's immunization record are encouraged to do so. Those 14 and older must have their own account.
I'm scared of needles. Will getting the vaccine hurt?
The needle will pinch but only for a few seconds. There are things that you can do to make it hurt less like taking some deep breaths, wiggling your fingers and counting to 10.
Do I have to get vaccinated?
Getting vaccinated keeps you from getting really sick. It will be up to your mom or dad or guardian whether you get vaccinated.
Do I need two shots, like adults?
Two shots (doses) are the best way to keep you the most safe from getting very sick. If you have certain medical conditions, you may be asked to get three shots over several months to be fully vaccinated.
Is the vaccine the same one as adults get?
The vaccine is a little bit different because it is made especially for younger children. There is also a smaller amount of the vaccine needed.
Do kids really need the COVID-19 vaccine?
Many kids have had COVID and some have been fine but some have been very, very sick. A vaccine will help to make sure that you don't get very sick. It will be up to your parents or guardian to decide if you are to be vaccinated.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
The vaccine is safe. It has been tested on many, many children and there were no serious side effects and it kept those children from getting very sick. The vaccine had to be approved by Health Canada in order to be used.
What are the side effects of getting the vaccine?
You will probably have a sore arm for a little while. Some people do not feel anything after getting vaccinated. You may feel tired and achy or chilled but that goes away in a day or two.
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