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More kid vaccine bookings as health units prep for child-friendly clinics

TORONTO — More COVID-19 vaccine bookings for children rolled in across Ontario on Wednesday as some regions administered their first pediatric shots and others prepared for a ramp-up of kid-friendly clinics later in the week.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott said 101,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments had been booked for kids between the ages of five and 11 by 5 p.m. on Wednesday. 

That figure covers the provincial booking system and doesn't include other bookings made through local public health units, pharmacies and primary care offices offering the shots.

Bookings opened for kids in that age group on Tuesday morning and 10 children who are patients with SickKids hospital in Toronto became the first in the province to receive the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech doses later that day. 

Kid-friendly clinics are scheduled to start in earnest on Thursday, though a few began Wednesday. 

Southwestern Public Health advertised a "limited batch" of shots being offered at a Tillsonburg, Ont., clinic in a social media post. A clinic in Forest, Ont., was also taking appointments for children, according to the Lambton public health unit. 

A handful of clinics in Toronto were also administering the vaccines to young kids.

Toronto's vaccine rollout for young children is scheduled to pick up on Thursday, with some clinics at schools, doctors offices and in local communities. Board of Health chair Joe Cressy said city-run clinics will feature selfie stations, stickers and colouring. 

Other health units plan to follow with their first kid-focused clinics on Friday and more over the weekend. 

York Region said it would host special clinics starting Saturday for those with anxieties or fears around needles, available for anyone over the age of five, with longer appointments and staff trained to help people cope with the process. 

Ontario reported 591 new COVID-19 cases and seven more deaths from the virus on Wednesday.

There were 137 people in intensive care with COVID-related critical illness, including 84 patients on ventilators. As of Tuesday, there were seven patients from Saskatchewan in Ontario intensive care units. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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