A Winnipeg parent is breathing some relief after Health Canada approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for ages 12 to 15 on Wednesday.
“It’s about time, and I’m glad they approved it,” Tim Webster told Global News. “We need to protect the kids. We’re discovering now that they are more targeted by the variants.”
Webster says his 15-year-old son has been doing remote learning since last year.
“Because of my wife’s health conditions, our son has been remote learning since last year,” he said.
“I’m hoping that with better protection we can have more kids in schools safely for the next academic year. (That) would be amazing.”
Webster says this is another step toward protecting his family.
“(My son is) pretty excited because he wants to protect his mom. That’s been his main goal since all of this happened,” Webster said.
“That’s what this household is organized toward… is protecting his mom, and he’s going to get a real practical chance to do that once eligibility comes up in Manitoba.”
Manitoba’s vaccine task force says the goal is to include this age category in vaccine eligibility later this month, and have first shots going into arms for anyone 12 and over who wants a vaccine by the end of the school year.
“It will extend the timeline a bit because there’s more people to immunize and the supply will only stretch so far,” Johanu Botha, co-lead of Manitoba’s vaccine implementation task force, said during a press conference Wednesday.
“So now we’re looking at the timeline of June 11 to June 15 to have all 12-plus eligible Manitobans vaccinated.”
But Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of Manitoba’s vaccine implementation task force, says nothing is set in stone. The province is still the waiting for recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization on where this age group fits in on the priority list.
“We had previously expected this announcement to be more like in June, so it was a bit of a surprise for us today,” Reimer said.
“We are waiting for NACI to give us some guidance. So unless there’s some surprise that comes from NACI, we expect that we’ll be able to continue with youth much like we have done with other age categories, but we’re also open to adjusting.”