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Nova Scotia says province still on track for June vaccination goal with new Pfizer approval

Click to play video: 'First COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in children' First COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in children
WATCH: The authorization of the vaccine is described as a significant milestone by Health Canada, it’s also one that Nova Scotia will implement in its immunization rollout. Alexa MacLean has more. – May 5, 2021

Nova Scotia’s health minister says the province will follow Health Canada’s new authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in people 12 years of age and older.

“Everybody in Nova Scotia who’s eligible for a vaccine including 12-year-olds, who want a vaccine, will receive one in June,” Zach Churchill said.

READ MORE: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine approved for Canadians 12 and over, Health Canada says

Churchill says as long as there aren’t disruptions to Nova Scotia’s access to COVID-19 vaccines the provincial goal of having all eligible Nova Scotians immunized with one vaccine dose is still on track for June.

In a federal press release, Health Canada describes the 12 to 15 age group authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines as a “significant milestone in Canada’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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“I think parents should recognize that the recommendations by Health Canada are made on data based on safety and the immune response to the vaccines,” Dr. Scott Halperin said, a pediatric infectious disease expert and director of the Canadian Center for Vaccinology.

Pfizer is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized in Canada for use in children and Halperin says it’s a crucial step towards the overall goal of reaching population immunity.

“Even if they’re (children) not having the severest disease they’re still allowing the virus to circulate. So, we need to get them vaccinated,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Pfizer may submit COVID-19 vaccine data for ages 5 to 11 as soon as September, Health Canada says' Pfizer may submit COVID-19 vaccine data for ages 5 to 11 as soon as September, Health Canada says
Pfizer may submit COVID-19 vaccine data for ages 5 to 11 as soon as September, Health Canada says – May 5, 2021

Halperin adds clinical vaccine trials for children six months of age and older are currently underway.

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“For the much younger children we may not have vaccines available for use until the fall,” he said.

Read more: Why don’t children spread COVID-19 as much as adults? Manitoba experts weigh in

It’s all welcome news to Nova Scotia parents with children at home.

“We’re keen to see it come to the younger age groups — that just gives us that bit of reassurance. Particularly, when kids are in daycare and playgroups,” said Clare MacDermott, a mother of two.

MacDermott’s sentiment is echoed by a rural Nova Scotia mother who has been anxiously awaiting the green light to immunize her children.

“This is going to offer protection for them, allow them to get back to some sense of normalcy and allow us to see family again,” Kimberly Cook said.

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