Surge in traffic to LPH website for pediatric vaccine bookings

(File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / casanowe)

Local parents logged on early Tuesday morning to book COVID-19 vaccines for their kids.

The Lambton Public Health portal went live at 8:30 a.m. for first dose appointments for children ages 5 to 11. Within three hours, over 500 appointments had been scheduled.

The health unit’s Kelly Francis said there was an initial surge of bookings, but there is still a lot of availability at local clinics.

“We’re encouraging residents to click through all of the various clinic locations to find openings,” said Francis. “We are also reminding residents to check our site often. Additional clinics will be added to meet demand as needed.”

Lambton Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade urges patience when booking appointments.

“Whenever we open up to a new group of eligibility there’s always an initial high peak in demand,” said Dr. Ranade. “People want to get it right away, certain people have been very anxious about it and they go on and sometimes that can overload the system, sometimes that can mean that appointments are booked quite early on.”

He said there are about 30,000 individuals in their 70s who are now eligible for a booster, as well as between 9,000 and 10,000 children who are now eligible for a shot.

Dr. Ranade said about 20 per cent of new cases in Canada are in those 19-years-old and younger.

“But, a teeny, tiny fraction of hospitalizations result from that because kids don’t generally get very severe disease,” he said. “Now, is it possible, yes it’s possible, does it happen occasionally, yes it happens occasionally, but in general kids are not getting severe disease. So, lots of kids get it, not lots of kids get severe disease and vaccinations are definitely going to help.”

Vaccination clinics are scheduled in Sarnia, Point Edward, Forest and Wyoming. There are also clinics planned at LCCVI and St. Patrick’s High School next month, by appointment only.