Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine is expected to be given the green light by Health Canada for children aged 5-11 on Friday, Global News has confirmed.
It’s the next step in getting the province and country closer to being completely vaccinated. For the past six months, children between the ages of 12-17 have been eligible to get the jab.
“Plan for getting your child vaccinated,” Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said. “That is the most important long-term strategy for us to come out of our current risk of a fifth surge and to come out of the pandemic as a province and a country.”
The news has been welcomed by those in the medical community, especially those whose children will benefit from the pediatric vaccination.
“So much excitement, I just wanted to have a little party,” USask assistant professor of general pediatrics Dr. Ayisha Kurji said. “Not just as a pediatrician, but as a mom, because this is the age group that my children fall into, so I’m extra excited about it.”
It’s a motion that has allowed both the professional and personal side of Dr. Kurji to breath a sigh of relief.
“I think all kids have done so well during the pandemic, just adapting to wearing a mask, washing their hands, staying distanced, it’s remarkable to watch,” she explained.
“But, knowing that they can get that extra bit of protection for themselves gives me a little more relief. Also knowing that it helps the kids that we see who are still younger than five and aren’t able to be vaccinated.”
Although this is a positive step towards quelling the pandemic and lowering case numbers in Saskatchewan, the vaccination will not be made mandatory for students in the province.
“We’ve been very clear that students should be able to participate in in-class learning and in-school activities without being mandated or required to have a vaccination,” Saskatchewan Education Minister Dustin Duncan said.
“I just don’t think it’s appropriate that we would limit the opportunities for students (to) partake as fully as possible in the school year, based on a decision that either they, or perhaps their parents made for them.”
Even the the province’s top doctor continues to recommend and encourage all eligible people in Saskatchewan to get vaccinated, and he supports the government’s decision to not make vaccinations mandatory for schools.
“A situation where unvaccinated children cannot attend in-class learning, or other activities that are so important for them, it’s not their fault that their parents chose not to get them vaccinated,” Dr. Shahab said.
Parental consent is necessary for any child under the age of 13 to receive a vaccination of any kind, and the COVID vaccine is no different. However, the president of the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation would like to see mandatory vaccinations implemented in schools across the province as a way of keeping both students and teachers safe.
“To not only participate in extracurriculars but also to enjoy face-to-face learning,” STF president Patrick Maze said. “Every student has a right to an education, but there’s no right to say that the education has to be offered face-to-face.”
“This is about protecting our children, but it’s also about protecting the community,” Kurji added. “We know for example over the last few months the group that’s been getting COVID at the highest rate is this age group, it’s the kids under 12.”View link »