Protection site

“Protective forest” for the vaccination of children

Vaccination: Thousands of badges represent the city of Greater Shepparton’s determination to meet COVID-19 vaccination goals. Photo: Rodney Braithwaite Photo of Rodney Braithwaite

The state-run COVID-19 vaccination site at Shepparton Showgrounds is being transformed into an Australia-themed ‘protective forest’ to create a friendly environment for children ages five to 11 years of getting vaccinated.

GV Health’s Vaccine Hub at the Shepparton Showgrounds site will feature fun images of native Australian animals, along with artists, activities and giveaways designed to help make the vaccination experience a positive one for children and their families.

Children who get vaccinated at the Shepparton Showgrounds site will receive a presentation bag with goodies that can help distract themselves, including a coloring book by First Nations artist Emma Bamblett, colored pencils, stickers and spinning tops.

“We want to create a positive immunization experience for the whole family,” Victoria Acting Premier Jacinta Allan said.

“The forest-themed centers have been designed to provide a welcoming and accessible experience for children of all backgrounds and abilities. “

Parents and guardians can book online or through the coronavirus hotline for appointments at any of the 18 state-run vaccination centers offering childhood vaccinations against COVID-19.

The Shepparton Showgrounds, at the corner of Thompson and High Sts, is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

“By having your child immunized, you offer them direct protection against COVID-19 and reduce the risk of transmission to loved ones and in schools,” said Ms. Allan.

Forest-themed venues will be located at Shepparton Showgrounds, Melton Vaccination Hub (indoor and drive-thru), Campbellfield Ford Complex, Cranbourne Turf Club, Sandown Racecourse, Frankston Community Vaccination Hub, the former Ford plant in Geelong and the ‘Traralgon Racecourse.

The decorations were developed with children and parents, including those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Children can also place a leaf with their name on the “eucalyptus vaccination tree” that grows with each vaccinated child, parents can also add a leaf after receiving their third dose of the vaccine.

The state-run sites were designed to accommodate children who need extra support during their immunization process, such as visual distraction, virtual reality headsets, and the Buzzy Bees ice pack.

Child-friendly vaccination centers also offer booths with low sensory sensitivity and are able to meet specific needs.

The Victorian government recommends that parents and guardians of children between the ages of five and 11 reserve their child’s first dose before the program, which begins January 10.

The government also suggests that parents and guardians check pediatric immunization appointments with their local general practitioners and pharmacies.

An immunization plan has been developed by the Department of Health and the Royal Children’s Hospital as a resource for guardians to help them decide where and how to book based on their child’s needs.

The Pfizer COVID-19 pediatric vaccine reduces the risk of coronavirus in children and has the added benefit of reducing the risk of transmission to older contacts.

For more information and to reserve your child’s first dose, visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/vaccine

Reservations can also be made through the Coronavirus hotline at 1 800 675 398 or through your local pharmacy or general practitioner.