Shipments of the recently approved COVID-19 Pfizer pediatric vaccine will soon arrive to Saskatchewan after the vaccine was given approval by Health Canada on Friday.
On Monday, the provincial government announced over 112,000 doses of the vaccine are expected to be in Saskatchewan within days. It will be enough to immunize every child in the five to 11 age group, according to health officials.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority said on Monday that doses will be in the province on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“This is welcome news for families that want the protection that immunization provides for their children against serious disease,” wrote Health Minister Paul Merriman in a release distributed on Monday. “The immunization of this age cohort will also help to reduce transmission of the virus and ensure that children can continue to enjoy their friends and activities.”
Parents or guardians will need to provide consent for the shot.
The SHA said the pediatric vaccine will be available across the province at 221 clinics in 141 communities. Appointments for children can be booked online beginning Tuesday at 8 a.m. CST.
Wednesday and Thursday is when appointments can be scheduled in the province’s larger centres, while rural areas will have clinics administering shots starting Friday.
A variety of clinics will be offered, including walk-in, booked appointments and extended hours for added convenience.
There will also be over 100 schools with clinics focusing on ensuring a parent or guardian is in attendance to support the child during their immunization appointment. More information on in-school clinics will be shared with families directly.
The initial focus for the SHA regarding clinics will be to accommodate a large number of patients and offer extended and weekend hours. As immunization continues, the health authority will shift to providing a more targeted approach.
The Saskatchewan government website will have more updated information on locations of participating pharmacies when pharmacies received their supply.
Dr. Tania Diener, who is the medical health officer in charge for immunization, noted that the efficacy of the pediatric vaccine during clinical trials was 90.7 per cent.
However, she discussed the possibility that side effects could emerge when children receive the dose.
Those include soreness at the injection site such as swelling or redness. She also indicated children could become fatigued or have a headache, muscle pain or chills, but those side effects resolve after one to two days following immunization.
“The good news is that after all these trials, Health Canada has determined that this is a safe and effective vaccine that we can provide to our children five to 11,” Diener said.
Sheila Anderson, vaccine chief responsible for the SHA’s COVID-19 vaccination program, explained how there are a number of resources parents or guardians can access through the government and SHA websites for more information.