For 11-year-old Madeleine Hatswell, getting a COVID shot this week wasn’t that scary.
“It was quick and easy,” said Hatswell, shortly after she got her vaccination at North Vancouver’s ICBC clinic on Lloyd Avenue Dec. 6. “I was feeling excited. Because now I can do more things.”
For mom Bonnie Hatswell, getting her daughter vaccinated was a relief.
“It’s a step forward to being normal again,” she said.
Other parents on the North Shore voiced similar feelings after finally getting their children vaccinated against COVID-19.
COVID vaccinations for children five to 11 opened up Nov. 29 at the North Vancouver clinic. Except for the very youngest children under five, kids five to 11 have been among the last groups eligible to receive COVID vaccines.
For North Vancouver mom Linda Tang, being able to get her nine-year-old the shot was a no-brainer.
Tang’s kids, 9 and 13, live in a three-generation household, along with her parents. Early on in the pandemic, the family opted to home school both children to minimize risk of exposing their grandparents to the virus. Tang’s 13-year-old daughter was vaccinated in the summer when COVID shots were approved for teens and she returned to high school in September.
On Nov. 29, Tang was one of the first to receive a text-message invitation for her son and signed up for one of the first appointments.
“He was a little nervous about getting the needle,” but ended up doing fine, said Tang.
Tang said nurses at the kids’ tables were particularly patient. She added she was reassured to see the kids’ vaccines labelled with large orange markers to prevent mix-ups.
Craig Utian is another North Vancouver parent happy to have had his sons vaccinated.
Utian had a particular reason to want his kids protected. A year ago, his youngest son was one of the first children in his class at Upper Lynn Elementary to contract COVID-19 after being exposed to the virus by an adult at the school. By the time the family was notified of the exposure, the boy had already passed the virus to his mom, who ended up spending a week at Lions Gate Hospital on oxygen.
While health officials have stressed that children tend to contract the virus less readily than adults and don’t become as sick when they do, “the kids do pass it on,” said Utian.
Utian said his family registered both sons for the shot as soon as they were able to this fall and got an appointment on Sunday evening at the North Vancouver clinic.
While his youngest son was apprehensive at first, “he came around,” said Utian. “Before you know it, it’s over.”
Both Utian and Yang said of the parents they know, the vast majority are planning to get their children vaccinated.
“Most parents are vaccinated,” said Yang. “They feel very comfortable with the children’s vaccine.”
In November, Health Canada approved the Pfizer COVID vaccine for children at a dose of one-third the adult vaccine.
According to Vancouver Coastal Health, there are roughly 14,000 children between the ages of five and 11 on the North Shore.
According to the Ministry of Health, approximately 47 per cent of children five to 11 had registered to be vaccinated in Vancouver Coastal Health as of Dec. 2. Of those, just over 26,000 kids were already booked for COVID vaccine appointments, representing just under 38 per cent of that age group.
Approximately one per cent of kids five to 11 received their vaccines in North and West Vancouver in the first two days that appointments were open for that age group, according to the BCCDC.