Manitobans 12 and older can now book COVID-19 vaccine appointments

WINNIPEG — Manitobans aged 12 to 17 years of age can now book COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

The Manitoba government made the announcement at a news conference on Friday, noting that young people can start booking their first appointments today to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

“We believe this will help us protect even more people, more families, more communities from the third wave of COVID-19,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of Manitoba’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.

The province noted that Pfizer is generally available at supersites and urban Indigenous clinics, with Reimer adding that the Pfizer vaccine has been tested and reviewed and has been determined to be safe for children.

The province notes that it is “ideal” if individuals aged 12 to 15 attend their appointments with a parent, guardian or caregiver, or have their guardian sign a consent form beforehand.

If a young person attends without a guardian and a signed consent form, they can go through an informed consent process with a clinical lead. This process will help to assess the youth’s ability to consent on their own to get the vaccine.

“Young people have access to make their own health-care decisions. Mature minors are young people who have the capacity to fully appreciate the nature and the consequences of proposed health treatments and are capable of giving informed consent for themselves,” Reimer said.

She noted this concept is not based on age, but rather on the capacity to understand.

“The mature minor concept applies to all medical and surgical treatments, including vaccines,” Reimer said.

The province said all eligible young people aged 12 and older, or their parent, guardian or caregiver, can book an appointment by calling 1-844-626-8222 or online.

There are about 111,000 people aged 12 to 17 in Manitoba.

“If there’s one message I want to share with the youth who may be listening or reading this [it’s] when we are immunized, we slow the spread of COVID-19,” Reimer said.

“We protect ourselves and the people around us so that we can get back to the activities and the people that we love.”

This is a developing story. More details to come.

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