Gurjot Gill | Toronto
Families in Ontario can now book appointments for their children to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ontario Health Minister, Christine Elliot previously announced that the provincial vaccine portal would open at 8 am but there were reports from people on social media that people were able to book appointments even earlier.
The new wave of eligibility now allows children between 5 and 11 to now get the Pfizer vaccine. It was approved on Friday by Health Canada after the application process started for approval in October.
“The vaccine was 90.7% effective at preventing COVID-19 in children 5 to 11 years of age and no serious side effects were identified,” Health Canada announced in their report.
Initially, the new wave of vaccines was to allow not only children who were 5 years old but also children turning 5 in 2021 and 2022 to be able to get vaccinated. However, the government quickly backtracked due to not having enough safety and efficacy data for four-year-olds.
Health Minister Elliot also said 400,000 doses of the vaccine were expected on Monday with 600,000 coming at a later date. Ontario is expected to receive over a million doses of the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine from the federal government which is in line with a million people that are now eligible to get the vaccine according to the Ministry of Health.
“Receiving vaccine approval for children aged five to 11 is another critical milestone in our vaccination efforts,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones in an announcement on the Ontario news website.
The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine was originally approved for people 16 years old and above on December 9, 2020, followed by an approval on May 5, 2021 for children between 12 and 15 years old.
The government says the children will receive a slightly modified lower dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which is one-third of the amount of dosage given to the general population. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends the vaccines be given in a two-dose format with an eight-week interval between doses.
Jones also mentioned that children who turn 12 years old eight weeks after their first dose can get the adult vaccine shot for their second dose.
For children to receive the vaccine, they would need consent from parents or caregivers. If there are any questions, the Provincial Vaccine Confidence Line is available to call by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Center at 1-833-943-3900 or can also be contacted by visitng the Vaccine Consult website to book a phone appointment that’s confidential with a SickKids clinician.
Families can also book their vaccine appointment through public health units that use their own booking system, select participating pharmacies, and Indigenous-led vaccine clinics. Appointments are set to begin on November 25th when the first doses arrive in Ontario.
Vaccine certificates with QR Codes will be available for the children on the Covid-19 vaccination portal but at this time, there are no requirements for children 5-11 to show their proof of vacination in Ontario.
89% of Ontarians 12 and above have atleast one dose of the vaccine with 86% having both doses with a total over 22 million doses adminstered so far.