Dozens of families with children aged five and up were at the Scotiabank Arena on Sunday as the city hosted Toronto Kids Vaccine Day.
Joe Cressy, chair of the Toronto Board of Health and city councillor for Spadina-Fort York, described the event as a big opportunity for the city to come together, not just to vaccinate as many kids against COVID-19 but to also send a signal to parents and caregivers that the sooner they get their kids vaccinated, the safer the entire city will be.
“Our kids getting a vaccination, it’s a superhero act. You know, when you protect yourself and your family, your friends, you’re a real life superhero, and that’s why our kids vaccination day slogan is superhero,” Cressy told CBC Toronto.
“The vibe, the energy inside is remarkable. Kids are excited, they’re having fun, and we’re trying really hard to create that fun environment.”
Cressy said kids were able to get their vaccine on the ice where the Toronto Maple Leafs play or on the basketball court where the Toronto Raptors play.
Children between the ages of five and 11 received a pediatric Pfizer vaccine (10 micrograms), while those aged 12 through 17 received a 30-microgram Pfizer dose.
Cressy said in the two weeks since vaccines were approved for kids aged five to 11, Toronto has had “remarkable success.”
“In just the first two weeks, more than 67,000 doses were administered. That’s nearly 30 per cent of the population, and it’s going up every day,” he said.
“In the city of Toronto, we have 200,000 kids between the ages of five to 11 who are eligible. In just two weeks 67,000 of them got their first shot and we have tens of thousands of more appointments booked in the weeks ahead.”
“It has vastly surpassed our expectations in the first few weeks, but we’re just going to keep going with school-based clinics, pharmacies, big events like today at Scotiabank Arena, we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure every kid can get that shot,” Cressy added.
Julia Orkin, pediatrician at SickKids Hospital and medical lead for the COVID-19 outreach program, said it is a critical time for everyone to recognize the importance of vaccination, not just for children, but for entire communities, with boosters and other opportunities.
“For our children, one vaccine dose is not enough for full protection, it’s one dose and then two and then 14 days,” Orkin told CBC Toronto.
“But one dose is a huge step toward that important step of immunity and recognizing that as soon as the vaccine becomes available to you, to come down and to get your vaccine is really the right thing to do for yourself, for your community, for your family, for your school.”
Dr. Vinita Dubey, Toronto’s associate medical officer of health, said children five to 11 years of age have some of the highest rates of COVID-19 in the city right now and she is urging continued vigilance over the holidays.
“Getting the vaccine as soon as possible before the holidays is going to help around the holiday time,” she said.
“Given that we have omicron here, we have our cases going up, we all really need to think about the holidays and think about keeping our social circles tight, keeping our gatherings to a minimum, especially if we have unvaccinated children or others present.”
Today, the Toronto Sign is lit pink to recognize <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/TorontoKidsVaccineDay?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#TorontoKidsVaccineDay</a>. <a href=”https://t.co/qZ0bdFNpTY”>pic.twitter.com/qZ0bdFNpTY</a>
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