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Worried about the kids' COVID-19 vaccine? Here's a free new way to talk to an expert

A new judgment-free service gives you the information to make the right choice for your family.

By Canadian Public Health Association

Worried about the kids' COVID-19 vaccine? Here's a free new way to talk to an expert
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We're all worried about our kids' health these days. With the tripledemic of COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza, parents are focused on doing whatever they can to keep the family healthy. At the same time, many have questions or fears about the COVID-19 vaccine.

A new, free service aims to change that. MIICOVAC offers reliable, up-to-date, science-based vaccine information to help parents choose what's right for their families.

“Parents are often afraid of being judged and do not dare to ask questions about their child's immunization,” says Dr. Arnaud Gagneur, a neonatologist and vaccine hesitancy researcher at the Université de Sherbrooke. “This service provides access to an individual immunization counsellor who will answer all their questions in a non-judgmental and caring manner.”

How does MIICOVAC work?

If you have questions about the COVID vaccine, whether it's regarding your children or yourself, and you don’t know who or how to ask or aren’t comfortable asking your healthcare professionals, visit Canvax.ca/miicovac. Simply hit “Click here to get started.”

There is a brief survey to complete regarding your questions and concerns. Once that’s done, you can book a video appointment with an immunization counsellor. 

What is the video appointment like? 

Trained counsellors use a technique called motivational interviewing, a communication style that helps guide people toward making decisions by addressing their concerns, uncertainties and anxieties. Counsellors share science-backed information about COVID vaccines, without pushing vaccination or shaming you for the choices you’ve made or plan to make. Any information you share will remain confidential. 

The role of the counsellors is to respond to parents' concerns and provide them with the relevant information they need to help them make their own decisions regarding their children's immunization,” says Gagneur.

What else should I know?

MIICOVAC is part of a pilot project to see if this type of service meets the population's needs. Because of this, you’ll have to fill out and sign an electronic consent form before you begin.

MIICOVAC is a partnership between Centre de recherche du CHUS (Université de Sherbrooke), the Canadian Vaccination Evidence Resource and Exchange Centre (CANVax), the research group CoVaRR-Net, and the Canadian Public Health Association. The pilot project is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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