The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has now been approved for use in children aged 5 to 11 years by Health Canada. In accordance with provincial guidance that is informed by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) expects that appointments for children will become available on the provincial booking system in the coming week.
SMDHU anticipates that the pediatric formulation of the COVID-19 vaccine will be received locally in the coming week and the health until will promptly make it available by appointment only via local community clinics throughout Simcoe Muskoka, pharmacies and some primary care providers.
“We are very pleased to learn of Health Canada’s approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years of age and the recommendation by NACI,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, SMDHU’s Medical Officer of Health. “Getting 5-to-11-year-olds vaccinated is safe and the most effective way to protect them from COVID-19. This is the next major step in our efforts, locally and beyond, to protect children and the broader community from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Health Canada and NACI have both noted that preliminary evidence shows the vaccine is 91 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19 in children 5 to 11 years of age and no serious side effects have been identified. The vaccine can also help safeguard against the disruptions to schooling and extra-curricular activities and the social isolation that children have experienced during the pandemic. Therefore, the benefits of this vaccine for children outweigh the risks. Canada has one of the most careful vaccine review systems in the world.
Information for parents and caregivers about the vaccine is available on the health unit’s website, including how and where to get the vaccine, answers to frequently asked questions, and helpful resources about making the vaccination experience a positive one for your child. It will be updated as new information is available.