When Kim Tait saw a tweet from the Middlesex-London Health Unit late last week announcing that the Pfizer COVID vaccine was available to all children born in 2009, he knew he had to hurry.

Her 11-year-old daughter, Emily, had not yet been vaccinated because, with a birthday in September, she was not eligible.

“I couldn’t get her there that night, but I got the first available appointment the next morning,” Oakville resident Tait said, recalling that her first thought was “this will be closed.”

“Unfortunately, this is how this release has come about. It seems very uneven, different health units doing different things. “

With September fast approaching, parents like Tait are wondering why all children in Ontario who turn 12 this year are not eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, as they are in some other provinces, leaving seventh grade classrooms partially vaccinated. A discrepancy is the short-lived move to open the jab to everyone born in 2009 from the Middlesex-London Health Unit that was highlighted last week.

The vaccine is offered to all children born that year, including those with subsequent years, in Alberta, BC and the Northwest Territories. On Monday, Manitoba officials announced they were doing the same. But in Ontario, children must already be 12 years old.

According to Statistics Canada126,498 people were born in the country in 2009 between September and December.

At a press conference in July, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer for health, said the province is following legal advice on how to interpret Pfizer-BioNTech’s safety trials, which were only conducted on 12-year-olds. years onwards. That’s the only vaccine Health Canada has approved for ages 12-17.

“Part of the licensing for Health Canada was ensuring that it adheres to randomized controlled trials and licensing agreements for the vaccine,” he told reporters.

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“So it was our interpretation to follow the tests and the science, being 12 and up. I realize a couple of provinces haven’t, but anyone who turns 12 will be eligible and we will have vaccinations for them this year. But we had to adhere to the recommendations that Health Canada gave us. “

The ministry did not respond to further questions before the deadline.

But Health Canada spokeswoman Maryse Durette said in an email that this “decision depends solely on the provinces in light of the guidelines in their vaccination programs and schedules.” He added that the agency expects vaccine manufacturers to provide data on children in the coming months.

Wanting to take advantage of the new guidance from the Middlesex-London Health Unit, Tait and her children jumped in the car and headed to London on Friday morning, nearly a two-hour drive from their home in Oakville. Her daughter received the vaccine, surrounded by other girls who would soon turn 12, many of whom came from outside the area, Tait said.

But by noon, he said, they were turning people away when the health unit reversed its decision.

Middlesex-London Medical Health Officer Dr. Chris Mackie apologized on Twitter Friday for the confusion, responding to responses from angry parents.

“The provincial government requested that this be canceled due to lack of approval from Health Canada,” he said.

Spokesman Dan Flaherty added in an email that one of the health unit’s main goals is to vaccinate as many people as possible before the children return to school.

“The desire to extend vaccination eligibility to those born in 2009, or earlier, is consistent with that goal,” he said. “It is also important that the Middlesex-London Health Unit is aligned, as far as possible, with the Province, and the decision not to proceed with children who have not yet reached the age of 12 is based on the desire to advance at the same pace the Province on this important issue ”.

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He did not answer a question about who was in contact by telling them to stop.

Meanwhile, at another southern Ontario health unit, Lambton, if someone goes to a clinic “regardless of age eligibility, a determination can be made on an individual basis at the clinic based on the guidance of the Medical Health Officer.” Kevin said. Churchill, Lambton Public Health family health manager.

Colin Furness, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health, said he is “concerned” that Ontario is not offering the vaccine to children turning 12 this year, and Health Canada should authorize this now. .

“That’s being procedural to the letter in a way that’s downright stupid,” he said. “The risk of getting vaccinated for someone who is almost 12 years old is no different than someone whose birthday was a few weeks ago, but the risk of contracting COVID is real and tangible.”

Tait notes that his daughter’s second dose was canceled. Now you will have to wait until after your birthday in late September.

Still, she is very grateful that she will at least start school with a first dose.

“I’d drive to Alberta if I had to,” he said.



Reference-www.thestar.com

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