Booking for children’s vaccine shots to begin Tuesday

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Renfrew County parents will be able to begin booking COVID-19 vaccine shots for their children aged 5 to 11 as of 8 am this Tuesday, November 23.

The Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU) announced Friday that it will be offering dedicated vaccination clinics for children 5 to 11 years of age “in the coming weeks.”

The announcement followed Health Canada’s approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric formula of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Bookings can be made through the health unit website at rcdhu.com

“Residents are also encouraged to contact their local pharmacy to book a COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years of age, as select pharmacies will also offer the COVID-19 vaccine for this age group.”

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said Health Canada approval of the children’s vaccine is “encouraging news for the health and well-being of children across our province, especially as more people move indoors and attend family gatherings during the colder months this winter.”

“We understand that parents may have questions,” she said.

“That’s why we are working closely with public health units, children’s hospitals, children’s services and other health experts, including partnering with SickKids to allow for confidential, convenient and accessible vaccine consultation services for children, youth and their families. We are also working with Indigenous partners and community leaders to ensure equitable access to the vaccine.

“Team Ontario is ready to ensure that every child is able to benefit from the strong protection offered by the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Federal Public Services and Procurement Minister Filomena Tassi said the first doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine will start to arrive in Canada on Sunday.

Tassi said the government and Pfizer-BioNTech had agreed already to an accelerated delivery schedule and more than 2.9 million doses will be shipped by the end of the week — enough to provide a first dose to every eligible Canadian child.

“After a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence, the department has determined that the benefits of this vaccine for children between five and 11 years of age outweigh the risks,” Health Canada said in a news release Friday morning.

“This is the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized in Canada for use in this age group and marks a major milestone in Canada’s fight against COVID-19.”

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam said approval of a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine in Canada has been “long anticipated.”

“Going forward, we will be closely monitoring domestic rollout of the pediatric program in Canada and continuing to review accumulating evidence from international programs and studies,” she said in a statement.

“During this time, it is very important that we support children and their caregivers in making informed decisions about COVID-19 vaccination, while respecting their choices and pace of decision-making.”

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