Three more provinces announce COVID vaccination plans for children

Parents in Alberta can begin booking COVID-19 vaccination schedules for their children online on Wednesday, as three more provinces announced the launch of similar vaccination programs on Tuesday.

British Columbia and Quebec teamed up with Alberta to release details of their programs for children between the ages of five and 11. Children in Quebec will begin receiving their vaccinations on Wednesday.

Vaccinations begin in Alberta on Friday, while some children in British Columbia will be able to get vaccinated on Monday.

BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said up to 350,000 children will be eligible for the vaccine in the province and more than 90,000 children are already registered.

He said Health Canada approved the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use in Canada after an independent scientific review confirmed that the first vaccine formulated for younger children is safe and works.

Prime Minister Jason Kenney said Alberta has received the modified children’s vaccine and will distribute the doses to 120 locations over the next two days.

“The wait is basically over,” Kenney said Tuesday, adding that 391,000 children in Alberta are eligible.

He urged hesitant parents to seek information on the efficacy of the vaccine, which Health Canada says is nearly 91 percent effective with no identifiable side effects.

Early adoption of the vaccine by children has been overwhelming in many provinces, including Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. Tens of thousands of parents have booked online dates for their children.

In Quebec, Prime Minister Francois Legault said he understands that parents may have concerns about vaccinating their children against COVID-19, but offered assurances that the vaccines are safe.

Three more provinces announce plans for # COVID19 childhood vaccination programs. #CDNPoli

Vaccination for children between the ages of five and 11 will begin Wednesday at mass vaccination centers and next week at schools, Legault told a news conference. The two doses of vaccine will be administered at least eight weeks apart, the prime minister said.

“I am putting myself in the position of the parents and I can imagine that it may bring up certain concerns,” he told reporters in Quebec City. “I want to reassure the parents.”

Ten children rolled up their sleeves in Toronto on Tuesday to become the first to receive doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children in Ontario, hours after families went online to book long-awaited vaccinations.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott thanked the “very brave” children for doing their part to end the pandemic.

“They were really superheroes showing up to get the vaccine,” he said. “They not only protect themselves, but also their friends, grandparents, parents, and community.”

This Canadian Press report was first published on November 23, 2021.

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