After getting their first dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine at a downtown Toronto arena on Sunday, more than 1,500 youngsters aged five to eleven are now partially immunized.
During the Toronto Kids Vaccine Day, a superhero-themed clinic conducted at Scotiabank Arena, city councillor Joe Cressy, the chair of the Toronto Board of Health, tweeted that 1,536 doses were administered.
“That’s 1536 Torontonians who have come forward to defend themselves, their families, and our city. Superheroes. Each and every one of them, “Cressy sent out a tweet.
“This immunization effort is a cause for celebration. Toronto, you should be proud of these youngsters.”
The clinic ran from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and it included giveaways, music and entertainment. A total of 2,000 appointments was available for the one-day event.
“This is one of the most positive and exciting vaccine clinics I’ve ever seen. And in our kids campaign to get five- to 11-year-olds vaccinated, we’re trying to make it really positive,” Cressy told CP24 Sunday afternoon.
“If you’re six years old, a needle can be scary. So, we’re here at the home of the Leafs and Raptors. We’ve got support dogs, mascots, and a couple thousand superheroes getting their shots.”
Cressy hopes that the children who got their shot at the clinic would inspire their friends and classmates to get vaccinated.
Dr. Vinita Dubey, Toronto’s associate medical officer of health, noted that children have had the highest rates of COVID-19 in the city since the end of the summer.
“So, if we don’t vaccinate them, they will continue to get COVID and spread it to others. That’s why they want to be vaccinated and why we need to vaccinate them as well,” she said.
“A lot of them want to come to get vaccinated not even for themselves, but to protect their grandma and grandpa.”
Dr. Lennox Huang, a critical care physician at SickKids who was at the clinic, stressed the importance of children being vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I’ve taken care of some of the sickest children who have gotten sick from COVID at SickKids. And I can tell you for certain that children do get sick from COVID. They get sick acutely, but they also get long COVID,” Huang said.
“The other thing is that children can pass COVID on to other children and to their family members. And the vaccine protects against all of those things. It protects you.”
At the clinic, parents were relieved and happy to see their children get their first dose.
“I feel way better,” one mom told CP24. “It’s the best thing to do.”
Another mom said she hopes that with vaccinations of children now underway, schools will remain open.
“They go to school, so it’s important for them to be protected,” she said. “We don’t want them to be (learning) at home again.”
According to provincial numbers, more than 322,000 children aged five to 11 have gotten their first dose of the pediatric vaccine since it was approved last month.