Guelph administers first COVID-19 vaccines to children under 12
The first youth COVID-19 vaccination clinic has opened in Guelph.
The clinic, which is located at Stone Road Mall, started administering doses to children between five and 11 years old on Thursday afternoon.
Officials say more than 350 children go their first shot on Thursday.
"We've got vaccinators here for the whole month," said Ross Kirkconnell, executive director of the Guelph Family Health Team. "We try to do it in the mall, in a place that's more normal for kids."
Jillian Cockburn's two kids were among the first in Guelph to get vaccinated.
"It feels a bit surreal," she said. "We didn't know it was going to happen this quickly, but we feel really grateful."
Her seven-year-old son Theo says he's putting on his brave face.
"I'm usually scared of needles," he said. "I'm not really scared of this one."
Eight-year-old Emily Holmes says she's excited she now has one dose.
"Now I can spend more time with my family and cousins," she said.
To help children feel more relaxed at the clinic, health officials added pictures of cartoons and encouraging words.
"We're creating that environment that is really kid friendly and as easy as possible for something that can be tough for kids," said Danny Williamson with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.
The Guelph Family Health Team adds that nurses at the clinic also use distraction techniques.
"These are people that know how to work with kids, like our friends in public health," said Kirkconnell. "We'll make it fun for kids, as fun as any needle can be."
Pfizer's children vaccine was approved by Health Canada last week.
Waterloo Region will start putting shots in arms for children on Friday.