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COVID-19: MLHU extends vaccination to 11-year-olds turning 12 this year

Click to play video: 'Dr. Alon Vaisman talks back-to-school guidance for vaccinated and unvaccinated children' Dr. Alon Vaisman talks back-to-school guidance for vaccinated and unvaccinated children
Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Alon Vaisman shares advice for parents as kids get vaccinated before their return to the classroom and what health measures he would like to see included in Ontario’s anticipated back-to-school plan. – Aug 3, 2021

The Middlesex-London Health Unit says, effective immediately, anyone born in 2009 or earlier will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The change means that 11-year-olds who are turning 12 later this year don’t have to wait until their birthday to get vaccinated.

Read more: COVID-19 vaccine trial data for kids coming by end of year, Pfizer says

“We continue to look forward to being able to administer the vaccine to children and to protect them from COVID-19 and the Delta variant, but in the meantime, we are excited to be able to offer the Pfizer vaccine now to youth born in 2009,” said medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie.

Mackie said the health unit is confident that this is the right choice based on data from other jurisdictions that have already opened up vaccination to those born in 2009, “showing that it’s safe and effective.”

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The decision opens up vaccination to roughly 2,000 additional youth in the region.

Read more: Fourth wave of COVID-19 now underway in Canada, Dr. Theresa Tam says

As of Thursday, the MLHU says more than 80 per cent of youth age 12 to 17 have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while nearly 58 per cent are fully vaccinated. Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved in Canada for youth aged 12 to 17.

Children born after 2009, however, are still ineligible for vaccination. With the start of the next school year fast approaching and a fourth wave of COVID-19 now underway, Mackie is urging everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated to do so.

“It’s a challenging time for children and for parents of those children and so important for all the rest of us to get vaccinated in order to try and protect those who can’t be vaccinated.”

Pfizer is still conducting trials of its vaccine in children under 12, but Global News reports that the company intends to submit data to Health Canada by the end of the year.

— With a file from Global News’ Leslie Young.

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