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Kids 12 to 17 years old can now register for the COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 vaccine registration now open for B.C. youth aged 12 to 17' COVID-19 vaccine registration now open for B.C. youth aged 12 to 17
In the next big step in B.C.'s fight against COVID-19, kids 12 to 17 years old can now register for the vaccine. Global's Keith Baldrey has more details, and what the latest data indicates about the possibility of the province dropping some restrictions – May 19, 2021

Registration is now open for all 12 to 17 year olds to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced on Wednesday kids can now get in line for their shots. All adults in British Columbia are now eligible to book their vaccine.

“This is an exciting moment. It allows hundreds of thousands of people who were not eligible previously to register,” Dix said.

“It allows in many cases for families to go together and get vaccinated.”

Read more: B.C. won’t use schools to immunize 12- to 17-year-olds against COVID-19

The province will be unveiling details on Thursday at 2 p,m. PT on what the vaccination roll out will look like for kids.

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The expectation is the province will use existing large-scale clinics in most communities, with smaller communities to take a more direct vaccination approach. The specific details on this will be provided on Thursday.

There are about 300,000 British Columbians in the 12 to 17 age bracket.

Click to play video: 'B.C. won’t use schools to immunize 12- to 17-year-olds against COVID-19' B.C. won’t use schools to immunize 12- to 17-year-olds against COVID-19
B.C. won’t use schools to immunize 12- to 17-year-olds against COVID-19 – May 13, 2021

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told Global News last week schools would not be used for the vaccination program. The main reason is because the clinics are already designed and suited to provide the vaccine.

“We have created an extraordinary system of clinics in B.C. and this will allow all of those 12 to 17 year olds to take advantage of that,” Dix said.

“In some smaller communities the practical place to do the immunization may be the school.”

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The B.C. government recently announced an extension of the immunization plan to those under the age of 18. Health Canada has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for kids in middle and high school, after global studies.

The BC Teachers’ Federation is calling on the Provincial Health Officer and Minister of Health to revisit the plan and ensure in-school vaccination clinics are offered as part of the school-aged vaccine rollout, particularly in the hardest-hit regions.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: B.C. set to reveal plans to vaccinate 12-17 year olds' COVID-19: B.C. set to reveal plans to vaccinate 12-17 year olds
COVID-19: B.C. set to reveal plans to vaccinate 12-17 year olds – May 20, 2021

“Reducing barriers is essential to the success of BC’s vaccination program. We’ve seen the province do it with pop-up clinics in high-transmission neighbourhoods, so it’s unclear to us why they are not extending that logic to their approach to vaccinating students,” BCTF President Teri Mooring said.

“Schools regularly co-ordinate parental consent forms, schools have gyms and cafeterias that could be used, and, most importantly, the students are already there. Nobody has to take time off school or work and make the trip to a community clinic if we bring the vaccines to them.”

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Approximately half of all students aged 12 to 18 in BC reside in the Fraser Health region, which is also where the highest number of school exposure notices are consistently being issued.

Moderna is close to completing a study on whether than COVID-19 vaccine can be used in children.

Henry said she hopes to start getting 16, 17 and 18 year olds immunized in order to provide some certainty around graduation ceremonies.

Those events will not look anything like pre-pandemic high school graduations but they are expected to be larger than a year ago.

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