New Westminster continues to lead the way in Fraser Health when it comes to vaccinating children against COVID-19.
New West continues to have the highest rate of first-dose vaccination for five-to-11-year-olds in the region (which spans the territory from Burnaby to Hope and surrounding area). As of Jan. 4 figures from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, 48% of children in that age group in New West had received their first dose of Pfizer pediatric vaccine.
Fraser Health, as a whole, is still running significantly behind the Vancouver Coastal Health region when it comes to 5-11 vaccinations. The highest rates of pediatric vaccination can be found in Vancouver Coastal, with the Central Coast at 75%, North Vancouver at 65% and Vancouver Midtown at 64%. The Island also has high rates in the Saanich Peninsula (64%) and Greater Victoria (63%). (See list below.)
At the province's Jan. 4 COVID-19 briefing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix continued to encourage people to get their children vaccinated.
“It will make children safer and, of course, your family safer as well," Dix said.
Henry said the vaccine has already been given to more than 170,000 children in B.C. and millions more around the world, and it has proven to be safe and effective.
“This illness, thankfully, is still mostly mild in children, but some children do have serious illness," she said, adding children can also pass on the virus and bring it home to their families.
B.C. won't reduce interval between pediatric doses
With a full return to classrooms set for Monday, Jan. 10, many had wondered whether the province would attempt to speed up those vaccinations by reducing the time between doses.
Currently, B.C. is offering the second dose of pediatric Pfizer eight weeks after the first – meaning no B.C. children are yet eligible for their second dose. B.C.'s pediatric rollout started Monday, Nov. 29, so even those children who were vaccinated in the first week won't be eligible for a second dose until the week of Jan. 24 – two full weeks after the restart of school.
Henry said the province has a "variety of reasons" for sticking with the eight-week interval between doses.
"One, we know that even two doses is not going to prevent transmission from Omicron," she said.
Henry said even one dose is important for building up both antibody and cell-mediated immune response and added the science continues to show that the longest-lasting immune response comes from a longer interval between doses.
She said vaccination is important for children.
"It's going to be one of those things that helps us get back to a normal school and after-school activities for all our kids," she said.
Want to get your child vaccinated?
In order to be vaccinated, five-to-11-year-olds must first be registered in B.C.'s Get Vaccinated system, after which time an invitation will be sent (by text or email) to book an appointment. You can find all the information online at B.C.'s pediatric vaccine page, or call the central vaccination line at 1-833-838-2323.
Who's vaccinating their kids in B.C.?
Here are the top 12 areas for first-dose vaccinations in the 5-11 age group:
Central Coast: 75%
North Vancouver: 65%
Vancouver Midtown: 64%
Saanich Peninsula: 64%
Greater Victoria: 63%
Vancouver Westside: 58%
West Vancouver/Bowen Island: 54%
Vancouver City Centre: 53%
Vancouver Centre North: 53%
Vancouver Northeast: 52%
Western Communities: 52%
New Westminster: 48%