British Columbians will start vaccinating children five to 11 years old across the province starting on Monday.
The province will be sending invitations to book on Monday in the order in which families registered their children.
“This is a vaccine that is safe, that has been through rigorous review. It is important parents get the information to protect their kids.” B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.
“This is important for us to safely support families getting back to many of the activities important to them. We are very excited about this.”
There are around 350,000 kids in the province eligible to start receiving the vaccine. More than 92,000 children have been registered in the province’s Get Vaccinated system.
Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for kids last week. It is a third the dose of the standard COVID-19 for adults.
While there may be excitement from many, Henry also acknowledges there is nervousness around the vaccine for many parents.
There have been more than three million kids in the United States immunized and no additional safety issues have been raised.
The BCCDC and provincial health will be working to distribute information to families so they can read about the studies done looking into the Pfizer vaccine.
“Making decisions with younger children is more difficult. Older children can explain themselves in a more forceful way. We want to provide the information so people are comfortable making these decisions for their children,” Henry said.
The province also shared the latest data connected to COVID-19 spread among children. Based on immunization rates for kids 12 to 17, 38 people per every 100,000 of the population have gone to the hospital if not vaccinated against COVID-19. Not one person 12 to 17 who has received at least one COVID-19 dose has gone to the hospital with COVID.
The province will be following the NACI guidance and providing the two vaccines for 5 to 11-year-olds eight weeks apart.
Parents will need to provide verbal consent. If a legal guardian is not accompanying a child to the vaccination site, there must be written consent.
A vast majority of the vaccines will be done at community clinics largely set up at public health units.
A child must have had a fifth birthday to get the vaccine and it is not based on calendar age.
The province will be providing the pediatric vaccine right until a child’s 12th birthday.
“Our intent is to get families to come in together and make it convenient,” Dr. Penny Ballem, head of B.C. vaccine rollout plan, said.
“Drop-in is very unpredictable. This is not a cohort you want to have waiting very long. This allows for multiple children in the same family to come in together.”
Children five to 11 will not be added to the provincial vaccine card and there will be no vaccine mandates for kids.