Manitoba Daily

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Canada receives the first COVID-19 vaccines for kids

Key takeaways:

  • On Sunday evening, the first doses of COVID-19 immunization for children arrived in Canada.
  • The federal government and the drug giant have agreed to speed up the delivery of over 2.9 million medicines.

The first doses of COVID-19 vaccination for children arrived in Canada on Sunday evening, with a shipment landing in Hamilton.

The vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, are intended for children aged five to eleven and are a significant step forward in the country’s vaccination efforts.

The federal government and the pharmaceutical behemoth have agreed to expedite the delivery of over 2.9 million doses, expected to arrive in Canada by the end of the week.

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Only several days before it was delivered, Health Canada cleared the vaccine for use. The first delivery date was announced on Friday by Filomena Tassi, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, immediately after Health Canada approved the immunization.

Pfizer Canada’s vaccine lead, Fabien Paquette, said clinical trials showed the vaccine was nearly 91 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 for the targeted age group in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live before the delivery on Sunday. This week, he said, deliveries would be made quickly across the country.

He told CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton, “Over 4,600 youngsters have been a part of this research, with really excellent success and, of course, great results.”

Pfizer’s paediatric vaccine has a one-third dosage of those given to persons aged 12 and up. Other adjustments to this shot have been made, including one that will allow it to stay at standard refrigeration temperatures for a longer time.

According to the CBC’s vaccination tracker, 79 percent of Canadians aged five and up are completely vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Nov. 19.

Vaccine apprehensions are a source of concern.

While many healthcare experts embrace the opportunity to boost vaccination rates across the board, there is fear that even parents who have had their children vaccinated may be hesitant to do so.

Paquette said it’s “natural” for parents to be concerned, but he advised them to trust Health Canada’s science and review process.

“I would advise those parents to speak with healthcare providers, take the time to chat with the nurse or immunizer who will administer the vaccination, talk to your pharmacist, your physician, and seek extra information and reassurance that this is a good option for their children,” he added.

Stefanie Ventura, a mother of a seven-year-old boy with epilepsy, told Barton that she was initially hesitant about the vaccine because her son, Daniel, had epilepsy. Still, after meeting with specialists, she was convinced that the advantages outweighed any risks.

First COVID-19 vaccines for children arrive in Canada

“We spoke with his neurologist, paediatrician, and several other doctors and staff, and they were able to provide us with all of the information we needed,” she said.

The vaccine, according to Ventura, is an “opportunity for our kids to reclaim a little bit of normalcy.”

She said her family had made numerous efforts to avoid being ill during the pandemic because illness had previously caused seizures.

“We’re hoping that a lot of parents get their children vaccinated so that we can observe the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

Provinces are preparing their rollout strategies.

The first doses have arrived in Canada and will be distributed shortly. Following that, the provinces must manage vaccination administration.

Parents in Ontario will schedule appointments for their children as early as this week, while officials in Manitoba indicated the rollout would begin within a week after delivery.

Health officials in Nova Scotia stated earlier this month that the administration might start in early December.

By Christmas, Quebec hopes to have given each child one dose.

Source: CBC News

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