Children ages five to 11 are getting their COVID-19 injections in Ottawa today, and while some parents may have questions about the health and safety of the vaccines, they may also have logistical questions.
Here’s a list of things they want to know.
The Ontario government says it will not enforce a vaccine passport for children under 12.
Current rules require anyone aged 12 or older to show proof of vaccination for a range of activities, including dining indoors and going to gyms, theaters or sporting events.
Currently, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children under 12 are exempt from quarantine upon arrival in Canada if traveling with a parent or guardian who has been fully vaccinated.
But there is a range of improved measures that unvaccinated children must follow on arrival, including staying home for 14 days from school or childcare.
Once a child is fully vaccinated, they no longer need to follow these enhanced measures, but must still meet the testing requirements.
Canadians returning from international trips lasting longer than 72 hours and foreign travelers entering Canada must be able to show evidence of a negative molecular test within 72 hours of their departing flight or scheduled arrival at the land border.
Last week, the federal government announced it will lift testing requirements for fully vaccinated Canadians, including children under 12 who return from international trips of less than 72 hours, but children under 12 who have not been fully vaccinated must still stay home from school.
When will a majority of children be vaccinated?
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says it has the capacity to vaccinate all children between the ages of five and 11 — about 77,000 children in Ottawa — before the winter school break.
OPH made 60,000 appointments available when the provincial booking system opened for that age group earlier this week, and 30,600 appointments have been confirmed so far.
After a child has received a first dose, the parents can book a second injection. OPH will stagger pediatric doses by eight weeks, in accordance with the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
The National Vaccine Task Force does not recommend that children in this age group receive a flu shot at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine.
The official government advice is that children should not receive a COVID-19 shot within 14 days of having another vaccine to control any side effects of either injection.
In cases where a child’s need for a vaccine is deemed urgent, a GP may recommend waiving that 14-day waiting period.
The number of residents vaccinated has steadily increased since shots were made available to the public, although the pace has slowed in Ottawa in recent months.
So far, 88 percent of Ottawa residents ages 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, and OPH expects to reach 90 percent within that age group sometime in January.
OPH will report next week on the vaccination coverage in children under 12 years of age.
Of the total population, including those not yet eligible for a vaccine, 77 percent are fully vaccinated. OPH says it can’t yet predict when the city can reach a total vaccination level high enough to achieve herd immunity.