Vaccine bookings open for young children in Ontario on Tuesday

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO – Children aged five to 11 in Ontario will be eligible to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments starting Tuesday.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province is set to receive a little over 400,000 vaccine doses from the federal government on Monday, followed by another shipment of a little over 600,000 vaccine doses.

In total, the province is expecting to receive about 1,076,000 doses of the paediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the federal government, which was approved by Health Canada last week.

“We’re going to be shipping them immediately to public health units and to primary care and then to pharmacies and we should be able to starting getting shots into little arms by about Thursday this week, so it’s very good news,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott.

Bookings open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday through a variety of channels.

Those include the provincial COVID-19 vaccination portal and contact centre, directly through public health units using their own booking systems, participating pharmacies and select primary care providers.

In order to book an appointment, children must be turning five years old by the end of 2021, or be born in 2016.

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said children who are set to turn five years old by the end of 2022 can book their vaccine appointment as early as January 2022.

Jones also noted that children who turn 12 years old eight weeks after their first dose can book an appointment to get an adult COVID-19 vaccine for their second shot.

Elliott acknowledged that some parents may be hesitant to get their children vaccinated and want more information about vaccines for younger children.

She said that if parents want to speak with someone about vaccinating children, they can call the provincial vaccine contact centre at 1-833-943-3900, make an appointment to speak someone at SickKids Hospital, or contact their child’s pediatrician or family doctor.

“I think it’s natural that parents would have questions, so we want to provide them with the resources that they need in order to make a decision for their child,” said Elliott.

Elliott highlighted that a third of the new COVID-19 cases in the province are in school-aged children, which “speaks to the need to get children vaccinated.”

The provincial government said approximately one million children aged five to 11 are eligible to receive the pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Ontario reported 627 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, and one more death.

Almost 89 per cent of eligible Ontarians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 86 per cent have received two doses.

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