Children Health

Lambton public health planning for children’s immunizations

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Lambton public health wants to know what local families think about COVID-19 vaccinations for younger children once they become available.

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The public health agency opened an online survey on Oct. 4 for parents and guardians of children ages five to 11.

It can be found at chkmkt.com/LPHParentVaccineSurvey and will be open through Oct. 18.

“Lambton public health is looking to parents in the community for their preferences and concerns about COVID vaccines for children,” said Siobhan Churchill, an epidemiologist with the Sarnia-area public health agency.

“We’re really hoping that as many parents complete that survey as possible so we can take the information into account when planning vaccine clinics for kids age five to 11,” she said. “We do expect that is coming soon.”

Not even a day after it opened, the online survey had already gathered 80 responses, Churchill said.

“While we don’t have a date yet for when children age five to 11 will become eligible, we’ve been told to expect some time later this fall,” she said. “Planning is well underway.”

Churchill said they are asking parents for their preference for a few different immunization clinic options.

They include family-friendly clinics in the community, at their child’s school during or after school hours, a primary-care provider or through a pharmacy.

“We do expect that we will offer multiple options for parents, and the survey results will help us to tailor those,” Churchill said.

They also hope to learn if family preferences are different depending on whether they live in the Sarnia and Point Edward area, or elsewhere in Lambton, and if they have different preferences for older and younger children, she said.

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There are about 9,000 children ages 5 to 11 living in Lambton County, Churchill said.

For youth ages 12 to 17 in Lambton, about 77 per cent have received a first vaccine dose, she said.

“So if we had 77 per cent of these five- to 11-year-olds, that’s about 7,000 children.”

Along with its online survey for parents and guardians, Lambton public health is also currently conducting a telephone survey with Ipsos Public Affairs.

“This is something we do every year to get a sense of where the community is at,” Churchill said. “This year in particular we’re looking at mental health, and comparing mental health at the beginning of the pandemic.

“And we’re also asking how the community feels about public-health measures, like vaccine passports, and how their family is faring in the fourth wave. We’ve got some questions on vaccine hesitancy and we’re interested in people’s thoughts on our public-health system.”

That survey has been underway for a few weeks and is expected to continue for several more days.

“We’d love to encourage residents, if they get that call, to participate,” Churchill said.

Results of the survey will be released in a public report and posted on the agency’s website.

“We’ll be using those to plan our programs and services in the coming year,” Churchill said.


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