Trudeau says all Canadians will be vaccinated by September. Did he forget kids?

CBC Kids News • Published 2021-04-07 08:24

Still no vaccine approved for kids under 16


A Canadian teen is calling out the prime minister for forgetting about kids when making his vaccination promises.

“I'm honestly saddened that once again, we're forgotten in those decisions and those declarations,” said Mégane Jacques, a youth advocate with Children First Canada.

She was referring to a promise made last month by Justin Trudeau.

“As I've been saying since this past November, we expect all Canadians to be vaccinated by the end of September, for those who want it,” Trudeau said.

But when Trudeau said “all Canadians,” did he mean just adults?

It appears that way.

CBC Kids News reported last month that Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical advisor, doesn’t expect kids to get the vaccine until the end of 2021.

“I really think that Justin Trudeau needs to think about us a little bit more,” said Mégane, 17, who is from Trois-Rivières, Quebec.

Mégane Jacques, 17, is a youth advocate for Children First Canada, an organization that aims to make Canada the best place in the world for kids to grow up. (Image submitted by Mégane Jacques)

Where we’re at with the vaccines

So far, Canada has approved four different vaccines for adults.

Only one of them, Pfizer, is proven to be safe and effective for teens 16 and older.

Studies are still underway to determine if that vaccine is safe for kids under 16.

Alejandra Gerardo, 9, looks at her mom as she gets the first of two Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations during a clinical trial for children at Duke Health in Durham, North Carolina, on March 24. Trials are still underway to determine if the vaccine is safe for kids. (Image credit: Shawn Rocco/Duke Health/The Associated Press)

Last week, Pfizer announced that some early tests show that the vaccine is safe with “demonstrated 100 per cent efficacy” in preventing the disease in kids aged 12 to 15.

But experts haven’t looked at the study to see if it’s legitimate, a process called peer review.

Health Canada hasn’t even looked at the data yet.

That won’t happen for a few weeks, according to Sharma.

And kids under 12 aren’t included at all in the study from Pfizer.

Other vaccine manufacturers, such as Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, have also started testing their vaccines on teens and kids, but those trials are in the very early stages.

A plastic container with sydinges in it.

So far, only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for kids 16 and over. (Image credit: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

So why is Trudeau not including kids when he says ‘all Canadians?’

CBC Kids News asked the Prime Minister’s Office for clarification on this.

“We will have enough vaccines for all Canadians by September, including kids,” said Ann-Clara Vaillancourt, the Prime Minister’s press secretary.

“But we need to make sure it works when you get it,” she added.

So, basically, Canada plans to have enough vaccines for every Canadian, but those vaccines need to be approved for kids before they can actually get them.

Trudeau gives a man an elbow bump as he visits a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Ottawa on March 30. Elderly people, essential workers and health-care workers are among the first to get the vaccines in Canada. (Image credit: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Mégane said that if kids can’t get the vaccine by September, Trudeau should say so.

“Kids are also Canadian. We are citizens of this country and we deserve the same treatment and the same attention that adults get.”

“Please acknowledge that we're here, too, and we're not getting what we would need to be at our best.”

Mégane said that kids have suffered a lot throughout the pandemic, because they aren’t seeing their friends regularly and in some places they aren’t going to school.

Vaccinating them will help their lives return to normal.

“We've done our best. We respected most of the guidelines. We've done our best to protect our elders and the people we care about. But we need help, too.”

With files from Amina Zafar/CBC


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