VICTORIA – Children in British Columbia five to 11 years old will soon have access to Pfizer’s COVID-19 pediatric vaccine.
“The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine directly protects children and will mean less disruption to the activities that are important to them, such as school, sports and social events,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. “Once children are vaccinated, parents can feel more assured their children are safe, and children can feel empowered knowing they are taking another step to protect their grandparents, teachers, friends and loved ones.”
On Nov. 19, 2021, after a thorough review, Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for children five to 11. This vaccine uses a lower dose (10 micrograms), at one-third of the dose formulated for older children and adults, which will provide effective protection tailored to children’s immune systems. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) advises that children receive a two-dose series of the vaccine with an interval of eight weeks or more between the first and second dose.
“We all want to make the best decisions for our young ones, and the most important thing to know is that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 in children,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The pediatric vaccine is welcome news for parents and children, bringing us one step further in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and helping us put this pandemic behind us.”
The pandemic has had a significant impact on young children who have missed out on school and other important social activities. While children are at lower risk of severe disease from COVID-19, it can still result in hospitalization or have long-term impacts. Getting vaccinated will help families get back to many key activities in their communities.
Parents and guardians who have registered their child with Get Vaccinated will begin receiving invitations on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, to book appointments. Registration ensures parents are notified by text or email when it is time to book their child’s appointment.
“We’re proud of the work we have done with health authorities to ensure children across the province can get vaccinated as soon as possible in family-friendly, accessible clinics,” said Dr. Penny Ballem, executive lead of BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Program. “Parents and guardians can feel confident that immunizers in our clinics are trained in vaccinating children, providing a positive experience for children and families.”
Some health authorities are hosting clinics dedicated to children in certain communities. Pharmacies will continue to offer first, second and booster doses only to eligible adults 12 and older, at this time.
Parents or guardians with questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for their child can call 1-833-838-2323, or visit: gov.bc.ca/vaccineforkids (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/children)
Parents can also consult with their child’s pediatrician, family doctor or nurse practitioner so they can make the best decision for their child.