Health officials brought the dogs this week to help children at COVID-19 vaccination clinics at 100 Mile House.
Three therapy dogs, including Jasper and his handler Heidi Hapalo, were on site Tuesday and Wednesday to comfort the children between the ages of five and 11 as they were vaccinated.
“They thought it might be a good idea for the kids to have something to stroke or hold onto and so far it has worked,” Hapalo said, adding that 10-year-old Jasper is well known around. of Mill Site Lodge and is a calm, calming presence for all ages. . “They all liked it a lot. Jasper is very sweet and happy just to be petted.
Public health nurse Krystal Choy said she and the other nurses wanted to make the vaccination experience relaxing for children. Nurses also decorated the clinic with Christmas decorations and dressed as Santa’s reindeer and elves.
“This is our first COVID clinic for children aged 5 to 11. We decided to have a little party to cheer up the little guys because (getting a needle) can be a bit difficult for them, ”said Choy.
Hudson McKinnon, 10, and his brother Bretton, 9, said they were nervous at first, but the blow only “stung for five seconds.”
READ MORE: Therapy dogs at the vaccination clinic
“I was like, yeah, it didn’t really hurt,” Bretton said.
Their mother Heather said she was relieved the whole family was vaccinated and hopes they can go on a family trip next spring.
Children in the clinic received the Pfizer pediatric vaccine, a lower dose of the same vaccine given to millions of adults around the world, said Sue Pollock, interim chief medical officer of Interior Health. She noted that vaccine trials conducted before deployment found no serious reactions in children, and only mild side effects such as pain in the arms and fever.
“Data from studies of children aged five to 11 have shown that the vaccine is 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections, and even better in preventing serious illness and hospitalization,” he said. Pollock said. “This level of immunity is remarkable. Yet we do know that it takes a long time for the body to develop its immune response and that full immunity is achieved approximately seven days after the second dose. “
While cases of COVID-19 in children tend to be mild to moderate, Pollock said there is always a risk that children will become seriously ill or develop long-term health complications. As of September 1, she said children between the ages of 5 and 11 made up 16%, or nearly 2,000 cases of COVID-19 in the Interior region. This is the highest infection rate of all age groups.
Between November 28 and December 4, there were 79 COVID-19 positive cases in the Cariboo-Chilcotin local health zone, according to Interior Health. Of these cases, 73.4% were either unvaccinated or undervaccinated (one dose). The health authority noted that those who are under-immunized represent only 26% of the overall population.
Vaccination clinics are held on Wednesdays and Thursdays for those who need a vaccination or a booster. To make an appointment, visit www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca.
100 Thousand House