British Columbia

B.C.'s indoor mask mandate now includes children aged 5 and up

The change was made for consistency's sake — B.C.'s provincewide mask mandate is now more aligned with new school masking rules in place for kids in kindergarten to Grade 3.

Families encouraged to register their children for vaccine; shots for kids under 12 possible by November

Grade 1 students are shown returning to in-person learning on Sept. 8, 2021. Children aged five and older are now included in the public health order making masks mandatory in indoor public spaces in B.C. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Children aged five and older are now included in the public health order mandating masks for indoor public spaces in B.C., the province confirmed Tuesday.

The change was made for consistency's sake — B.C.'s provincewide mask mandate is now more aligned with new school masking rules in place for kids in kindergarten to Grade 3. 

"We also want to keep things as straightforward and as simple as possible, therefore I am adjusting the public mask mandate," Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said during a news conference.

"I continue to be amazed by the adaptability and resilience of children across this province."

Previously, the mask rule for indoor public spaces only applied to children aged 12 and older.

WATCH | Henry announces new mask order:

B.C.'s indoor mask mandate now includes children aged 5 and up

12 months ago
Duration 0:48
Children aged five and older are now included in the public health order mandating masks for indoor public spaces in B.C., the province confirmed Tuesday.

There were 2,090 new COVID-19 reported in B.C. over the Thanksgiving weekend and 28 more deaths.

The province said 88.8 per cent of eligible B.C. residents had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 82.6 per cent were fully vaccinated.

Currently, only those aged 12 and up are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in Canada. Pfizer has requested Health Canada approve its vaccine for kids aged five to 11, and Henry said Tuesday she hopes the vaccine will be available for kids "as early as early November."

She said the province is still developing its strategy for immunizing children. She said eligibility won't be age based, as it was with adults, as families often have more than one child.

There are roughly 340,000 children between the ages of five and 11 in B.C.

Officials are encouraging families to register their children for the shot through the provincial Get Vaccinated portal. Parents who register will receive a notification when it's time to book a vaccine appointment for their child.

With files from The Canadian Press and Courtney Dickson

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