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Media Release: Parents urged to seek first dose of COVID-19 vaccine for their child before the holidays

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/ December 16, 2021 – HPEPH is urging parents to get eligible children their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine a soon as possible, to provide some protection against COVID-19 when they return to school in January.

With case rates continuing to rise in the region, it is a critical time for parents and families of children aged 5 and older to make the choice to seek vaccination – which will provide their child with protection against COVID-19. HPEPH and community partners are working diligently to balance the demand for COVID-19 vaccination for children, and offering booster shots to eligible individuals. As eligibility for booster shots will expand to all individuals 18 and older on Monday, December 20, parents are strongly encouraged to take advantage of appointments currently available for pediatric vaccines.

Book your child’s appointment now!

Why is COVID-19 vaccination important for kids?

“It is only a matter of time until we see the Omicron variant in our region, and evidence is showing that this variant is much more contagious than other variants,” says Dr. Ethan Toumishey, Acting Medical Officer of Health at HPEPH. “Time is of the essence – getting your child their first dose of vaccine before or during the holidays will provide them with some protection against the virus when they return to school. Taking action now will help keep them safe, keep them in school, keep them doing the things they love, and protect your family and the community.”

In the past month, 10 outbreaks of COVID-19 have been identified in school settings, reinforcing the increased transmissibility of new variants of the virus. However, nearly all of these outbreaks have taken place in elementary classrooms where children were not yet fully vaccinated. High schools are not experiencing the same level of transmission, in part due to higher vaccination rates in this age group.

COVID-19 vaccination helps slow the spread of the virus, reduce the severity of illness, and lower the risk of severe side-effects from COVID-19. Vaccines are tested through rigorous clinical trials where thousands of people receive the vaccine, and are safe. HPEPH understands parents want to make informed choices to keep their child as safe as possible. For evidence based information, visit

If you still have questions after reviewing the information above, please book a free phone consultation with a nurse at Sick Kids hospital.


Media contacts

Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist

Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist

About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

We invite community partners and residents to share this Media Release with their respective networks.

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Appointments for individuals 5+ can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  

Due to limited supply, HPEPH will initially be prioritizing available bivalent vaccine for residents and workers at identified highest-risk facilities.  Some HPEPH vaccination clinics MAY offer the bivalent vaccine, as availability allows. Vaccine clinics in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties will continue to offer monovalent vaccines (the same mRNA vaccines given as the primary series) for all eligible individuals until a steady supply of the bivalent vaccine is available.

Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.


Symptoms or exposure? Visit for the most up to date information about what to do.

For the most up to date information on current provincial restrictions, visit

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.