Parental consent required for children 5 to 11 to get vaccinated

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer

Parental consent will be required for children aged five to 11 to get vaccinated. Appointments can be booked now through the Northwest Health Unit (NWHU).

Dr. Kit Young Hoon, medical officer of health at the (NWHU) said it would only be a very extreme or very exceptional circumstance that this would not occur. Young Hoon also said they are not hosting school based clinics like they do for routine vaccinations for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Teachers or school staff cannot provide consent for students at this time,” Young Hoon said. “Parents can now book appointments for their five to 11 year olds to get a COVID-19 vaccination.”

Young Hoon said the NWHU expects vaccines to arrive later this week, and added that she hopes they will be available for the Saturday Nov. 27 clinic.

“Please note that children should not receive a different vaccine at least 14 days before or after getting their COVID-19 vaccine,” Young Hoon said. “This includes the influenza vaccine.”

She added that parents who have had their child vaccinated for influenza should book a COVID vaccine appointment for their child at least 14 days after that influenza shot.

This will also be the last week the NWHU will be offering the flu shot. After that, members of the public will have to go get their influenza vaccine from pharmacies or healthcare providers as the health unit begins focusing on five to 11 year old COVID vaccine shots.

As the health unit is getting ready to vaccinate the new eligible age group, they also declared that a new milestone has been reached in our area for first doses of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Young Hoon said she is pleased to announce that over 90 per cent of our area’s residents 12 years of age and older have been vaccinated with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

“This is an enormous milestone and I thank everyone who’s been vaccinated for playing their part in protecting our region,” Young Hoon said. “Over 132,000 doses of the vaccine have now been given in the area.”

It is calculated that to achieve herd immunity, 85 to 90 per cent vaccination rate of the entire population is required.

“At this point, we can’t achieve herd immunity until five to 11 year olds are included in that eligibility group,” Young Hoon said. “So now that they’re included, and hopefully with a strong vaccination rate for that population we are more likely to achieve herd immunity.”

Young Hoon said the majority of new COVID-19 cases are unvaccinated. However, she added that some reported cases include partially vaccinated residents.

The region has a double vaccination rate of 85 per cent, Young Hoon said.

“If less cases are coming from that 85 per cent and more cases are coming from the 15 per cent that are only partially vaccinated or unvaccinated, then the risk for an unvaccinated person is much larger.” Young Hoon said.

Young Hoon also said there is an ongoing scam in the region that sends texts telling residents they won money for attending a clinic and then they are given a link to redeem the money.

“This is a scam and residents should not click that link,” Young Hoon said. “We do not do draws or prizes at our clinics. If someone receives a call, email or a text like this, please report it to the Fraud Unit at the OPP.”

The NWHU is currently monitoring a workplace outbreak in the Kenora region, which has spread to households and schools. The workplace is not considered a direct risk to the general public.