Guelph’s public health unit says about 10,500 children aged 5-11 in the city are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine with Health Canada expected to announce the approval of the Pfizer paediatric shots on Friday.
There are about 7,500 eligible children in Wellington County and another 5,500 in Dufferin County.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health said its immediate vaccination goal is about 70 per cent of the eligible population, while its overall goal is having 90 per cent of children vaccinated against COVID-19.
On Thursday, medical officer of health Dr. Nicola Mercer announced a regional plan to vaccinate children, which would see vaccines going into children’s arms by the end of next week.
“We have said throughout the pandemic that our goal is always to ‘be ready not get ready,’” Dr. Mercer said. “The childrens’ vaccination program is another example. Our plan mobilizes partners throughout the region to get children vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
The plan features three ways to get vaccinated: primary care providers, pharmacies and public health clinics.
Most children will be vaccinated through their primary care provider, with many local family health teams and physicians already beginning to book appointments, the health unit said.
Ontario lays out COVID-19 strategy for schools during winter months
As with adult vaccinations, public health will also be hosting hub clinics in larger populated areas, mobile clinics in smaller communities, pop-up clinics, clinics in schools, accessible clinics for children who need them, and clinics at children’s congregate settings and treatment centres.
“This is a tremendous step forward for our region,” said Dr. Mercer.
“I share the enthusiasm of parents and residents of the region that we are on the cusp of protecting our children against COVID-19. It represents one of the key remaining steps to ending this pandemic and getting back to a more normal pattern of life.”
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.