Health Canada is expected to give the green light to Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 on Friday, Global News confirmed.

It is the next step to bring the province and the country closer to being fully vaccinated. For the past six months, children between the ages of 12 and 17 have been eligible to receive the jab.

“Plan your child’s immunization,” said Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical officer. “That is the most important long-term strategy for us to emerge from our current risk of a fifth increase and emerge from the pandemic as a province and as a country.”

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The news has been welcomed by members of the medical community, especially those whose children will benefit from pediatric vaccination.

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“A lot of excitement, I just wanted to have a little party,” said USask Assistant Professor of General Pediatrics, Dr. Ayisha Kurji. “Not just as a pediatrician, but as a mother, because this is the age group my children are in, so I’m very excited.”

It is a move that has allowed both the professional and personal sides of Dr. Kurji to breathe a sigh of relief.

“I think all the kids have done so well during the pandemic, just adjusting to wearing a mask, washing their hands, staying away, it’s amazing to see them,” he explained.

“But knowing that they can get that extra protection for themselves gives me a little more relief. Also knowing that it helps the children that we see who are still under five years old and cannot be vaccinated ”.

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Although this is a positive step in quelling the pandemic and reducing the number of cases in Saskatchewan, vaccination will not be mandatory for students in the province.

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“We have made it very clear that students should be able to participate in classroom learning and school activities without being required or required to be vaccinated,” said Saskatchewan Education Minister Dustin Duncan.

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“I just don’t think it’s appropriate for us to limit the opportunities for students to participate as fully as possible in the school year, based on a decision that they, or perhaps their parents, made for them.”

Even the best doctor in the province continues to recommend and encourage all eligible people in Saskatchewan to get vaccinated, and he supports the government’s decision not to make vaccinations mandatory in schools.

“A situation where unvaccinated children cannot attend classroom learning or other activities that are so important to them, it is not their fault that their parents chose not to vaccinate them,” said Dr. Shahab.

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Parental consent is required for any child under the age of 13 to receive a vaccine of any type, and the COVID vaccine is no different. However, the president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Teachers would like to see mandatory vaccinations implemented in schools across the province as a way to keep both students and teachers safe.

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“Not only participating in extracurricular activities, but also enjoying face-to-face learning,” said STF President Patrick Maze. “Every student has the right to an education, but there is no right to say that the education must be offered in person.”

“It’s about protecting our children, but also about protecting the community,” Kurji added. “We know, for example, that in recent months the group that has been receiving COVID with the highest rate is this age group, it is children under 12 years old.”

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