Manitoba has opened up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for all Manitobans 12 and up.
In a release sent out Friday morning, health officials said young people between the ages of 12 and 17 can now book their Pfizer vaccine appointment.
“Young people have seen the serious effects that COVID-19 has had on their lives, their friendships, families and communities,” said Health Minister Heather Stefanson.
“They have shown resiliency, kindness and patience throughout the pandemic, and now it is their turn to be part of the COVID-19 response and help protect themselves, their friends and their families.
“Now that a vaccine has been approved for youth, this is something we can do together – to protect each other and to help take a stand against this virus.”
The Pfizer vaccine is generally available at super sites and urban Indigenous clinics throughout the province.
Dr. Joss Reimer, lead of Manitoba’s vaccine implementation taskforce, said appointments for a dose can be made by young people aged 12 and older or their parent, guardian or caregiver.
She said ideally those aged 12 to 15 will have a consent form signed by a parent, guardian, or caregiver, before getting their shot, but those without a signed form can still get their dose after going through an informed consent process with a clinical lead at the vaccine clinic, she added.
Those aged 16 and 17 can sign their own consent forms, the province said.
“The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been tested and reviewed, and found to be safe for older children,” Reimer said.
If you’re eligible today and you have questions about the vaccine, that’s completely normal and understandable.
“We have good information to answer your questions, you can ask a trusted adult or your health-care provider, or you can look for reliable sources online.
Vaccination appointments can be made by calling 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC) or visiting the province’s website.
Manitoba first announced those 12 and up would soon be able to get the Pfizer vaccine May 5, the same day Health Canada approved the use for children aged 12 to 15.
Prior to that the federal health agency had approved the shot only for those 16 and older.
At the time health officials estimated the move would mean all eligible Mantiobans over the age of 12 who want the shot vaccinated with at least one dose as early as June 11.
Provincial data shows there are roughly 111,000 young people aged 12 to 17 in Manitoba.
To date 625,404 first and second doses of vaccine have been delivered in Manitoba, health officials say.
The province says appointments for second-dose appointments will become available starting May 22. Those who are immunocompromised or have other prioritized health conditions will be able to book their appointments first, the province has said.