The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) reminds parents and caregivers that maintaining you child’s COVID-19 immunizations by getting the bivalent booster they are eligible for is the best way to protect them and to prevent them from passing the virus to grandparents or others who can get seriously ill.
For children aged five years and over, staying up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination means they have completed their primary series (first and second doses) and have received a booster dose in the last six months. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that children aged five to 11-years receive a bivalent COVID-19 booster six months from their last dose, with a minimum interval of three months.
Getting a booster helps to restore the protection that may have decreased since their last dose. Even if your child has had COVID-19, it is recommended to get a booster six months after infection to protect against reinfection or severe illness.
As with any vaccination, children may experience mild to moderate side effects and reactions following their booster. These will subside and are part of their body’s efforts to build immunity to COVID-19 following vaccination. Short-term side effects can include soreness and swelling or redness at the injection site, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle aches and loss of appetite.
While side effects usually pass within a few days, you can help your child feel more comfortable by applying a cool, damp cloth where the vaccine was given to help with soreness and swelling. If needed, speak to your healthcare provider about over-the-counter pain or fever medication, which may help with side effects such as headache, muscle pain and fever.
The benefits of being protected against COVID-19 far outweigh the risk of any side effects from the vaccine. To support parents and caregivers in making an informed choice, more information is available on the health unit’s website, including how and where to get the vaccine, answers to frequently asked questions, and resources about making vaccination a positive experience.
Children aged five to 11 may receive their booster by walk-in or appointment at the COVID-19 Immunization Clinic at 29 Sperling Dr. in Barrie, or by appointment at the health unit office immunization clinic locations in Midland, Orillia, Cookstown, Collingwood, Huntsville and Gravenhurst. Appointments are also available at health unit run pop-up clinics and GO-VAXX bus mobile clinics. Vaccines may also be available at select local pharmacies, and primary care providers and Family Health Teams may also offer the vaccine as part of their regular clinical practice.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccination, dose eligibility and booking an appointment, please visit www.smdhu.org/GetVaccinated.