The state-run COVID-19 vaccination site at Shepparton Showgrounds is being transformed into an Australian-themed ‘forest of protection’ to create a friendly environment for children aged five to 11 years to receive their vaccination.
Children who get vaccinated at the Shepparton Showgrounds site will receive a showbag with goodies that can help with distraction, including a colouring-in book by First Nations artist Emma Bamblett, coloured pencils, stickers and fidget spinners.
“We want to create a vaccination experience that is positive for the whole family,” Victorian Acting Premier Jacinta Allan said.
“The forest-themed hubs 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 one of the 18 state-run vaccination centres offering child COVID-19 vaccinations.
The Shepparton Showgrounds site, on the corner of Thompson and High Sts, is open 9am to 4.30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and 1pm to 9pm on Tuesday.
“By getting your child vaccinated, you are providing them with direct protection against COVID-19 and reducing the risk of transmission to loved ones and in schools,” Ms Allan said.
The forest-themed sites will be located at Shepparton Showgrounds, Melton Vaccination Hub (indoor and drive-through), Campbellfield Ford Complex, Cranbourne Turf Club, Sandown Racecourse, Frankston Community Vaccination Hub, Geelong’s former Ford factory and Traralgon Racecourse.
The decorations have been developed with children and parents, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Children will also be able to place a leaf with their name on it on the “eucalyptus vaccination tree” that grows with every child vaccinated, with parents also able to add a leaf after receiving their third dose of a vaccine.
The state-run sites have been designed to cater for children who need additional support during their vaccination process such as a visual distraction, virtual reality headsets and the Buzzy Bees ice pack.
The child-friendly vaccination hubs also provide low-sensory booths and are able to cater for specific needs.
The Victorian Government recommends that parents and guardians of children between the ages of five and 11 book their child’s first dose in the lead-up to the program, which commences on January 10.
The government also suggests parents and guardians check for paediatric vaccination appointments at their local GPs and pharmacies.
An immunisation plan has been developed by the Department of Health and the Royal Children’s Hospital as a resource for guardians to help decide where and how to book based on their child’s needs.
The paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine reduces coronavirus risks for children and has the additional benefit of reducing risks of transmission to older contacts.
For more information and to book your child’s first dose, visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/vaccine