Some Ontario Health Units Are Letting 5- To 11-Year-Olds Get Their 2nd Vaccine Doses Sooner

They're cutting the waiting periods down.

Toronto Associate Editor
Some Ontario Health Units Are Letting 5- To 11-Year-Olds Get Their 2nd Vaccine Doses Sooner

With kids going back to school for in-person learning next week, some of Ontario's public health units have given the green light for 5- to 11-year-olds to get booked for their second doses sooner.

Ottawa Public Health and Hamilton Public Health Services are now allowing second dose appointments to be booked 21 days following their first-dose appointments.

"For children aged five to 11, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends an eight-week interval between first and second doses, as evidence shows this schedule produces a stronger and longer-lasting immune response," Ottawa Public Health Unit's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches, wrote on January 12.

"However, a shorter interval of no less than 21-days has been shown to be safe and effective."

Parents who would like to schedule an appointment at a shorter interval can call the provincial booking line at 1-833-943-3900.

A spokesperson for Hamilton Public Health told Narcity that though the evidence for longer waiting times between first and second doses shows a stronger immune response as well as a longer and higher vaccine effectiveness, they are also allowing parents to book at a shorter interval.

"Based on the NACI recommendation, Hamilton Public Health Services advises community members that eight weeks is recommended for best immune response and decreased risk fo myocarditis and/or pericarditis, however and as per our clinical protocol and with informed consent, Hamilton Public Health Services permits bookings or walk-ins of a 21-day interval between first and second doses," a spokesperson for the City of Hamilton Public Health Services shared with Narcity via email.

Anyone who may have questions can consult with their family doctor, pediatrician or local pharmacist.

OPH will be giving out second doses at these shorter intervals if they have informed consent, as well as Hamilton Public Health Services.

On Wednesday, the Ontario government detailed some of the back-to-school measures that have been or will be put into place.

That includes rapid antigen testing and according to its seven-page document, a pause on "routinely notifying students/pupils in classes with a positive case, or if a child/student or staff is absent due to symptoms associated with COVID-19."

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Alex Arsenych
Toronto Associate Editor
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