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Children aged 5-11 now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

Children now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccines expected to be available the week of Nov. 22 Photo: Metro Creative Connection

Health Canada has approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged five to 11. Vaccines are expected to arrive in the province the week of Nov. 22.

Provided supply is delivered as expected, Alberta plans to begin administration by late next week. More information regarding bookings and appointments will be shared once they are available.

Currently, parents and guardians can pre-register their children in the Alberta Vaccine Booking system to be ready when appointments open.

“I know many Alberta families are breathing a collective sigh of relief knowing we are now able to offer their children protection from COVID-19. We are well-prepared to administer doses to children as soon as their parents and guardians are ready to book their appointments," said Jason Copping, Minister of Health

“While children are at a significantly lower risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19, they can still get infected with the virus and transmit it to others. This is especially important as we head into the winter season and are largely gathering indoors," said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health

Restrictions Exemption Program

Children under 12 will continue to have access to businesses and venues participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program, regardless of their vaccination status.

The Restrictions Exemption Program has been working well with these younger children being able to access facilities with their parents or guardians who are able to meet the program requirements, or participating in youth activities while following current public health measures.

More than 390,000 Albertans aged five to 11 will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. For children in this age group, there have been 30,700 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed since March 2020.

Children under 12 years of age have the highest rate of new cases in Canada. Most cases in children are milder than adults but some kids can get very sick, have long-lasting symptoms or complications such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

Children can spread the virus even if they don't have symptoms, potentially exposing vulnerable friends, family or community members.

The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends eligible children be vaccinated. While kids have a lower risk of severe illness, vaccines offer the best protection from getting or spreading COVID-19.