Manitoba’s COVID-19 booster policy for teens causing confusion

Manitoba’s policy for COVID-19 booster shots for youth ages 12 to 17 is leading to confusion for some parents.

Jocelyn Cordeiro was waiting for her 12-year-old son, who has asthma, to become eligible for the shot.

She eventually realized her son was able to get the dose through a Twitter post, noting the province’s guidance on eligibility for the age group is vague.

“It’s not really clear cut. It’s not black and white,” Cordeiro said in an interview on Tuesday.

“There’s room for the practitioner to use their judgement in the situation.”

She noted the eligibility guidelines for booster shots mentioned “severe” asthma.

Cordeiro wouldn’t classify her son’s asthma as severe, but noted his condition still puts him at higher risk for severe outcomes.

Once she realized he was eligible, Cordeiro said it was simple process to get her son the booster,

“It made me really happy because with everything opening up now as far as no mask use necessarily, obviously some people will,” she said.

“The option to wear masks, the ability to be out and about when a person tests positive and not have to isolate and no requirements for that, so there’s way more potential to become ill.”

She said the time she spent waiting to see if her son was eligible was upsetting, because it put him and their family at risk.

“It doesn’t just affect kids, that the thing,” Cordeiro said.

“You can say the kids aren’t at risk for the severe outcomes and that’s fine. But the third dose will give them further protection from actually acquiring COVID and therefore from bringing it home and creating more complicated situations.”

When contacted by CTV News Winnipeg, the province pointed to a quote from the vaccine task force lead, which said there is no clear evidence demonstrating a benefit for all teens to receive a third dose. The quote says that if teens aren’t at higher risk, they can still consult with a doctor to determine if the booster would be appropriate for them.

– With files from CTV’s Taylor Brock.

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