With the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine having been approved for those aged five to 11 by Health Canada on Friday, Waterloo Region’s vaccine distribution task force is hoping to have a needle in all of the age group’s arms by Christmas.
“I would suggest that it’s going to take us two to three weeks to run all of those children through our clinics, through our primary care offices, through our pharmacies, and my hope is they will all have had the opportunity to be vaccinated with the first dose before the holiday season,” said Vickie Murray, the head of the region’s vaccine task force.
There are about 48,000 kids in that age group in the area and earlier this week, Murray told the Board of Health that it is expected that 50-70 per cent of the age group (between 24,000 and 36,000 kids) will want to be vaccinated quickly.
She said people will need to be patient as Friday’s approval was just the first step in the process of vaccinating the five- to 11-year-olds.
“Next, we are waiting for provincial direction and of course, we need to wait for the delivery of the new Pfizer children’s vaccine to our region,” Murray said.
Murray said it will take about a week for the first doses of Pfizer for the children to arrive in the area.
“We are just waiting for final details on when it will arrive here in Waterloo Region,” she told reporters on Friday morning.
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The region said parents will not be able to book appointments for the kids in that age group until it receives further guidance from the province.
“As soon as we get these updates and timelines for delivery, we will be making an announcement on the timing and availability of children’s five- to 11-year-old appointments,” Murray said.
“I would like to ask that people do not rush to the vaccine clinics (Friday) because the Health Canada approval has been announced as we do not have the children’s vaccine here in our community and our freezers yet.”
Once the vaccine arrives, she said she expects it to be available in area clinics and pharmacies as well as from family doctors.
“On top of that, we are going to be doing outreaches at some of our local schools and we are still finalizing the details and expect to have that information as well out to you,” Murray said.
“We’re not going to stop there, though, because I think outreach and ease of accessibility is so important. So we will continue to look at opportunities on top of that, that might be easier or make the vaccine more accessible for our whole community.”
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