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'Every Dose Counts' vaccine weekend returning to help vaccinate children

The event will take place the weekend of Dec. 11 and Dec. 12 to help vaccinate children aged 5-11
Revamped Pinebush clinic
The revamped Pinebush COVID vaccination clinic

Children aged 5-11 have been able to get vaccinated in our region since Nov. 23. 

While the region continues to work on getting that age group vaccinated, it is also planning on bringing back its 'Every Dose Counts' vaccine weekend. 

That event will be held Dec. 11 and Dec. 12 at the Pinebush Vaccination Clinic. 

"We have colouring sheets at Camp Pinebush in the waiting area and we have some trees to give us an outdoor feel," said Lisa Anstey, Manager of the Pinebush clinic, "among other initiatives that we already have in place to help support children and families as they come through for their doses."

Anstey said children will get superhero certificates and stickers that the children receive once their dose has been administered.

"We have photo ops, COVID-safe selfie stations where they can pose and truly celebrate together after they've received their vaccine. We have superhero certificates and stickers that the children receive once they've shown how brave they are in getting their vaccine," said Anstey. 

She said the partnership with the Region of Waterloo will be expanded with staff from the Boardwalk Vaccination Clinic helping the Pinebush Vaccination Clinic team in administering the COVID-19 doses. 

"We are welcoming our colleagues from the Boardwalk site to help assist with additional doses as well as our partners at Grand River Hospital, their child life specialist will be on-site that weekend. In addition to the additional support for staffing, we're going to try and make it a fun and interactive weekend. We have Thunderstorm Productions joining us with a live DJ with music and videos on-site. They will have inflatables for kids to pose with and popcorn that the kids will receive as they are leaving the clinic."

From a galaxy far, far away, the Canadian Garrison of the 501st Legion will be at the clinic on Dec. 11 and Dec. 12 in costumes to support and give encouragement to kids and families. 

Santa Claus will also be stopping by the morning of Dec. 12 to encourage the children and provide some fun while waiting in the waiting area. 

"We really want to support a happy, healthy, friendly environment for the children to put them at ease," said Anstey, "sometimes getting the vaccine isn't easy so we're trying to give as many options as possible to the children and families. We still have our sensory safe spaces at the front of the clinic that will be protected from the additional activities and incentives that we are doing and we have quieter booths and spaces for families as well. We just want to make as many different options available to as many families as possible to give them a fun, and experience some kindness going into their school break. It's a way to protect themselves and their families for their gatherings that they may have."

The latest vaccination update from the region has shown that 18 per cent of eligible children aged 5-11 have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

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