Parents urged to get youth vaccinated against COVID-19

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The time is right for area youth to get vaccinated against COVID-19, says a media release from the local health unit.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is encouraging youth aged 12 to 17 years to get vaccinated against COVID-19 during the month of June. Based on the province’s schedule for second doses, youth vaccinated this month will be eligible to receive their second dose in August, ensuring they are fully vaccinated when school resumes in September.

“While it’s important for people of all ages to be vaccinated against COVID-19, we want to ensure that our young people are fully protected before heading back to class in the fall,” says Dr. Natalie Bocking, medical officer of health for the HKPR District Health Unit.

“Although young people may not become as ill with COVID-19 as some older individuals, they can still carry the virus and pass it on to others in their schools, families and communities. To help protect themselves and others, it’s important that our young people be vaccinated.”

Bocking says research has shown that the vaccine is safe and effective for youth, and that the side effects of receiving the vaccine are like those for adults and are minimal – typically pain where the vaccine was given in the upper arm and feeling more tired than usual. Headache, achy muscles or joints, and fever and chills are also possible. These side effects are usually temporary and generally clear up within one to three days.

Youth are encouraged to book an appointment for their vaccination at any of the Health Unit’s immunization clinics. Appointments for the clinics must be booked through the provincial booking system. The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use in individuals aged 12 to 17 and the vaccine will be available at Health Unit clinics.

Some local pharmacies may also provide youth vaccinations and should be contacted directly to book appointments. As well, primary health care providers may also offer vaccinations to their younger patients and their families.

“The pandemic has been a challenging time for all of us, including our children and young people,” says Dr. Bocking. “The vaccine is our best shot at getting back to the things we have missed, like spending time with our families and friends, travelling, and seeing our kids participate in organized sports. The more people who get vaccinated, the sooner we can see things start to return to normal.”

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