Parents wishing to have their children vaccinated against COVID-19 may be surprised to learn that at the age of five to 11, they will have to wait if they have also received a flu shot within the last two weeks.
It’s a detail that has been quietly added to the federal government’s vaccination information page for children and the Ottawa Public Health website.
According to the federal government website, “if possible, children should not receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine within 14 days of other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine.”
It is a precaution to monitor for any side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, the government said. The same precaution does not apply to persons aged 12 to 17 years.
Ontario’s health ministry is taking its guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, spokesman Bill Campbell said in a statement to CBC.
“Individuals who wish to receive two different vaccines within the 14-day interval can do so with informed consent,” Campbell wrote.
However, OPH states on its website that it “will not provide concomitant administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to children aged five to 11 years with other vaccines.”
“This means that when your child receives their COVID-19 vaccine, they will not receive other vaccines at the same time,” it said.
OPH did not say how else it shared this information with parents, but only pointed to the FAQ section of its website.
Information kept quiet, says parent
Some parents that CBC spoke to said that when they made vaccine appointments through Ontario’s booking portal, there was no information indicating that five-to-11-year-olds would have to wait two weeks between a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine.
“I want to go home and look up when her flu vaccine was, and then rearrange, I think,” said Naomi Klassen, whose six-year-old recently got her flu shot.
The class said she had also booked a COVID-19 vaccination for her this weekend without paying attention to public health guidelines.
While parent Kelly Gauthier was aware, she said the guidelines “have not been posted there so freely [as other] information has been published. “
Doug Wilkinson said he and his wife waited to order their 11-year-old daughter Mabel’s flu shot, knowing they would then face a two-week wait for a COVID-19 vaccination.
“We’ll give the COVID shot priority and then get the flu shot,” Wilkinson said.