Early results indicate a ‘significant’ number of local kids will get a COVID-19 vaccine

Emma Ritchie after getting her first COVID-19 vaccine dose. (Submitted photo).

Preliminary results from a recent survey suggest a significant number of parents in the area are planning to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19.

Lambton Public Health launched a survey earlier this month to gauge how parents would like to see the vaccination rollout, for children between the ages of five and 11, take place.

During a teleconference Thursday morning, Lambton Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade said the rollout will primarily use the same distribution channels already in place.

“[We’re] trying to make them a little bit more kid and family-friendly where we invite those children for their doses,” he said. “We’ve started doing the work to make sure we’re going to be ready, so using the information that was submitted to us from parents to try to shape those decisions.”

Ranade said the goal is to make the vaccines as accessible as possible once it’s approved for use in kids.

Details from the survey were not immediately available, but the health unit expects to release specifics sometime next week.

“A significant portion of parents are planning to get their children vaccinated, especially parents who have experienced vaccines for their kids before,” said Ranade.

Epidemiologist Siobhan Churchill later specified that 60 per cent of 107 parents surveyed by Ipsos said they were likely to have their child vaccinated against COVID-19 once they become eligible.

Concerns expressed by parents were similar to that of individuals who are vaccine-hesitant themselves, said Ranade. Questions can be answered through a variety of avenues, including the health unit and primary care providers.

“By the time the vaccine is approved in that population, the regulator will also release the information that it used to make that decision which is the information on the studies that were conducted on that population, and so that will also be available once the vaccine is approved,” said Ranade.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried to ease potential concerns from parents during his media conference Thursday.

“Health Canada is going to be taking the time necessary to ensure that, like all vaccines approved for use in Canada, vaccines approved for kids five to 11 will be fully safe and effective,” said Trudeau. “Shortly after the time comes for Health Canada to approve those vaccines for pediatric use, we will receive millions of doses in Canada, enough to get all kids between five and 11 vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

Ranade said 79.2 per cent of the eligible population, aged 12 and up, are considered fully vaccinated.

“[There’s] 1,000 people left to go who need a second dose in order to get to 80 per cent full coverage,” said Ranade.

One method residents can get their shot is through a mobile vaccination clinic, which will soon make stops in Sarnia-Lambton.