Parents embraced their children before and after getting their COVID-19 vaccine, acknowledging the momentous day off of school.
On Thursday afternoon, families gathered at a special press conference where their children between the ages of five to 11 would be getting their first COVID-19 vaccine.
"Kids, when you get your special stickers today," Health Minister Audrey Gordon says, "you can show them to your friends and I bet they will want to get one too."
Gordon says Thursday is one of the most important days in the COVID-19 vaccine campaign.
Dr. Jared Bullard, a pediatrician, spoke to parents and the press about the significance of the day. Hs own son, Donovan, is being vaccinated by Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of Manitoba's COVID-19 vaccine task force. While it was a day off from the sixth grade for 11-year-old Donovan, he shares what he knows about the vaccine with his father right behind him.
"It lessens the chance of spreading (COVID) to other people, and a less chance of getting more severe symptoms," Donovan says.
Jared says "when I talked to Donovan about what he is looking forward to most today about getting the vaccine the first thing that came to mind was he can go to restaurants with his friends and get back to playing hockey without any interruptions."
Ava dreams of being a pow wow dancer travelling around the world. She is now one step closer to that goal after Thursday's vaccinations.
Around Ava's neck was a beautiful beaded butterfly medallion, gifted to her mother Renata Meconse who is from Pinaymootang First Nation. The medallion was gifted to Renata from Northlands Denesuline First Nation.
"I let her use it on days when I think she should be strong. So I said 'you are going to wear this today and you are going to be strong. It is going to help you to be a good role model for other children," Renata says.
Eight-year-old Zloey's mom, Heidi Cecilio, says she is proud of Zloey's bravery.
"Back in Manilla she would cry a lot and she would dodge needles, but we had to tell her 'it's a new place and you have to toughen up."
Zloey's four-year-old sister Zaira watched her sister get vaccinated. Heidi is waiting for a vaccine to be approved in her younger daughter's age range.
More than 22,000 children aged five to 11 have their first vaccine appointment booked.
This article has been corrected to clarify that Renata Meconse is from Pinaymootang First Nation, and the butterfly medallion was a gift from Northlands Denesuline First Nation.