Nunavut to start offering vaccinations for COVID-19 to children under 5

Four-year-olds, and those under 5 who have certain health conditions, will be eligible for the vaccine.

1,100 doses coming to the territory next week

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, speaks during a press conference on March 9. (Mike Zimmer/CBC)

Nunavut's health department is getting ready to receive its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines for children under the age of five.

The territory is expecting 1,100 doses to arrive next week. They will be given to four-year-olds and to children under the age of five who are immunosuppressed, have severe lung disease, are on long-term steroid treatment or who are being treated for cancer.

"With approximately 6,000 children under five years old in Nunavut, vaccinations will begin with those who are four years old and younger, and children most at risk of severe COVID-19 infections," stated Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer.

The territory will administer second doses at the eight-week mark.

Health Canada approved Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for young children on Thursday — the first to be approved for children between six months and five years.

The doses are a quarter of what adults get.

John Main, Nunavut's health minister, said in the statement that the doses will arrive "just in time to allow us to increase our vaccine uptake in time for winter."

Temporary side effects from the vaccine can include a sore arm, tiredness, headaches, minor muscle pain, chills, fever or nausea but should pass within a few days.