Manitoba parents getting ready for vaccinations in kids 5-11, pending Health Canada approval
Manitoba is getting ready to vaccinate younger children against COVID-19 and it has some parents preparing to take their kids in for a shot.
Pfizer has officially requested Health Canada approval for its vaccine to be given to kids between the ages of five and 11.
“If it’s going to keep them safe why not,” said Shandy Kakekayash, who hopes her 7-year-old daughter will become eligible.
Kakekayash is fully vaccinated and she wants her daughter to get immunized to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to better protect her when she’s in school.
“She’s kind of nervous and scared but she also thinks it’s probably a good idea,” Kakekayash said.
Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force, said the province has been preparing and expects to be ready for the rollout to start by the end of November, pending approval from Health Canada.
“This is a really important development for Manitobans,” Reimer said.
So far just over 82 per cent of eligible Manitobans have received two doses, which doesn’t include the five to 11 age group, which has so far been ineligible for the shots.
“Achieving high vaccination rates in both adults and children is key to controlling the spread of the virus, ending the crisis phase of the pandemic in Manitoba and protecting the mental health of children by keeping schools open and ensuring that kids can participate in all of their normal activities,” Reimer said.
While health protocols remain in place for many activities, children under 12 are currently exempt from vaccine requirements to attend certain businesses and events where proof of immunization is required.
“At this point, we are not planning on removing that exemption from those kids under 12,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer.
If the vaccine is approved, Reimer said children would be able to get the vaccine in physician clinics, pharmacies, public health clinics, and at some point through a school-based program.
While children are less likely than adults to experience severe outcomes, they can still get sick and spread the virus to others.
“Me and my daughters had it,” said Kakekayash. “It was hard because we had to quarantine for a month because I had to do my two weeks and then do my kids two weeks to make sure that we were all safe.”
Something Kakekayash hopes they won’t have to do again.
Reimer said Health Canada will only give its approval for kids between 5 and 11 if their independent and scientific review of Pfizer’s submission shows the vaccine is safe and effective in younger children.