The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) says everything is going as planned as it appears to be to protect young children from COVID-19.
Officials shared the update during a tour of the child-friendly vaccine clinic at the Western Fair District Agriplex on Friday, which began vaccinating 5 to 11-year-olds last week.
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As of Wednesday, the clinic has seen more than 3,500 children get vaccinated, and that number rises to 4,500 when all MLHU clinics are included, according to officials.
The procedure area remains a familiar setting at the clinic, but an additional new takeaway can be found in the “watch and find” chart provided to children receiving injections. Available in several languages, these charts task children with finding the different stickers that are posted throughout their vaccination journey.
The clinic also includes stress-relieving plush toys and uniquely designed vaccine cases, all aimed at keeping kids busy during their time in the clinic.
Some cases also have a curtain, providing a more private experience for those sensitive to sensory processing.
While it usually takes about 30 minutes for an adult to walk through the immunization room, it usually takes families around 10 minutes as MLHU staff work to provide a more child-friendly experience.
Tracey Gordon, senior manager of MLHU’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics, said they received a warm reception from families.
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“We’ve had a few families say their kids were pretty nervous about coming in and getting vaccinated, and we ended up having one parent who said, ‘I can’t make it up,’” says Gordon. they leave”.
“We’ve noticed from our previous experience with flu vaccine clinics, where we don’t set up this kind of atmosphere… that these clinics are running much more smoothly.”
Appointments filled up quickly, as MLHU expected, but Gordon said there has been a recent slowdown in bookings in December.
She said this could be because families are busy with other holiday activities, but MLHU expects bookings to increase after that.
Gordon said MLHU has paused the establishment of vaccine clinics in schools, citing that December is a busy time with the upcoming holiday season.
In January, MLHU plans to expand childhood immunization coverage with mobile clinics targeting communities with lower immunization rates.
“What we found earlier in the campaign was that mass vaccination sites were the best places to start. Once we’ve gotten through the bulk of it, we’ll be moving our people and resources into the mobile space,” said Gordon.
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About a third of vaccine appointments are full, meaning there’s still plenty of room for families who want to order the vaccine, according to Gordon.
Agriplex operates seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. A clinic at the Caradoc Community Center in Mount Brydges also operates during the same hours, but only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
During December, a pedestrian clinic is available at Masonville Place. Gordon said the north London shopping center took just over 300 photos in its first two days of operation.
More details about the COVID-19 vaccine clinics in the area can be found on the MLHU website.
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