On Wednesday, the province announced some of the first child COVID-19 vaccination appointments are taking place for kids aged 5-11 years of age.
This comes as the province said COVID-19 cases in school-aged kids are rising faster than in any other group.
Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead for the province’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force, said the appointments were made possible because shipments of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine arrived early enough on Tuesday for the team to inspect, repackage and ship the doses earlier than expected.
Since the appointments for children opened on Monday at 6 a.m., Reimer said more than 23,000 appointments have been made for children to receive the vaccine. This includes 18,693 on Monday and 3,351 on Tuesday.
“It underscores what we knew that Manitoba parents of younger children want to get their children vaccinated to protect them from COVID-19,” said Reimer.
The pediatric doses will be shipped province-wide and will be administered through regional vaccine clinics, physicians, pharmacies, urban Indigenous clinics, and pop-up community clinics.
Reimer said the vaccine will also be available in some schools, both during and after school hours in the coming days and weeks.
Reimer suggests using the provincial vaccine finder map on the province’s website to find the closest vaccination location and noted it has been updated with the locations of pharmacies and clinics that will be receiving the pediatric doses. Some of the clinics could receive doses as early as Thursday.
“Manitoba will be receiving enough vaccine to provide a first dose to all 125,000 children in this age group, so we’re very thankful we do not have to prioritize doses for different children within the 5-11 group,” said Reimer.
Reimer said before taking your children to get their shot, it is important to have a conversation around the vaccine and why it is important and to prepare them.
The recommended timeframe between first and second pediatric doses is at least eight weeks unless you reside on a Manitoba First Nation.
There should also be a 14-day interval between a pediatric COVID-19 dose and any other vaccine. This will help with surveillance data to identify any possible side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine or from another vaccine.
“There are no safety or effectiveness concerns about your child receiving a different vaccine close in timing to their COVID vaccine,” said Reimer.
Reimer said parents shouldn’t cancel any existing vaccine appointments, such as influenza vaccines, because of conflict in the timing because it is important children don’t miss any vaccine when it is being offered.
With the eight-week timeline, Reimer said it is not possible for children aged 5-11 to be fully vaccinated before the holiday break, but one dose can help protect children and their families.
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