B.C. youth between the ages of 12 and 17 can now receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Anyone between those ages can sign up online to register for the vaccine but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday youth can also call around clinics in their area and see what appointments are available.
They will only need to bring their identification cards and their personal health number and do not need to have parental consent to get the vaccine, Henry said.
“We have what is called Mature Minor Consent here in B.C., and that is part of the Infants Act, and there is no limit to the age that somebody can consent for medical treatment, including immunization,” Henry explained.
“That is something that we have worked a lot with youth on across the province over the years. Public health nurses in particular and public health physicians are very good at assessing and talking to youth, so we will make sure that resources are available in all of the clinics to assess — if a young person comes in by themselves — to make sure that they understand the implications and can consent for receiving vaccinations.
“You don’t need to have a parent’s consent, you don’t need to have a signed consent form.”
“We can do the understanding of the implications of the vaccine and provide young people with a vaccine themselves,” Henry said.
There are about 300,000 British Columbians in the 12 to 17 age bracket.
Currently, it is only the Pfizer vaccine that is licensed for use in children.
Henry told Global News last week schools would not be used for the vaccination program. The main reason is that 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,” Health Minister Adrian Dix added.
“In some smaller communities, the practical place to do the immunization may be the school.”