PEI

COVID-19 vaccine for youngest Canadians 'good news' says P.E.I. CPHO

Some parents on P.E.I. are welcoming the news of Health Canada approving Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for children under five in Canada, but the province's Chief Public Health Office says the rollout plans for vaccinating kids is still in the works.

Vaccine rollout still in the works, says acting chief public health officer

The announcement Thursday marks the first time eligibility for immunization against COVID-19 will be expanded to infants and preschoolers between the ages of six months and five years — affecting nearly two million of Canada's youngest children. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Some parents on P.E.I. are welcoming the news of Health Canada approving a COVID-19 vaccine for children under five in Canada.

Health Canada now says the Moderna vaccine can be given to children between the ages of six months and five years in doses one-quarter the size of those approved for adults.

The announcement marks the first time eligibility for immunization against COVID-19 will be expanded to infants and preschoolers, and will affect nearly two million of Canada's youngest children.

"I'm actually really glad to hear that because it's just been, I don't know, crazy, the last couple of years," says Alicia MacArthur, whose 15-month-old son remains the only unvaccinated member among her family of four.

She said it has made her wary of bringing him to public places where he could potentially contract the virus.

Now, MacArthur said she plans on getting her son vaccinated as soon as it's available.

No rollout plans yet

In an interview with CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin Thursday, acting P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Eilish Cleary called the announcement "good news," but said it's still too early to say when it will be available on P.E.I.

Woman with grey hair and headset on in an office looks at camera.
Acting Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Eilish Cleary says the direction from expert advisory groups across the country will be condensed as a guide for provinces and territories to assist with the vaccine's rollout. (CBC)

"There is a little bit of a lag time between the approval and the rollout," she said.

She said the normal process for a new vaccine requires the direction of expert advisory groups across the country, including the National Advisory Committee for Immunization, or NACI, to decide what factors need to be considered. The information will then be condensed as a guide for provinces and territories to assist with vaccine distribution.

'You trust research'

Daun Lynch, a teacher who has been exposed to the virus several times at work, said she hopes the province will provide as much information as it can for Islanders planning to get their children vaccinated.

Lynch is also the parent of a 3-year-old, and says she's excited the vaccine is finally coming for Canada's youngest population.

"[My husband and I] are supportive of the vaccine. Obviously, it took a while since we understand that research has to be done and we wouldn't want to go ahead right away," she said.

"But you trust research and hope that people at the top are making the best decisions."

At First Friends Child Care Centre in Charlottetown, early childhood educator Claire Miller said children and staff have been absent due to COVID-19 and hopes the vaccine will help reduce that.

"I think it will start protecting the younger children for sure. And just being able to help everybody, not just a certain age, but to help the younger ones," she said.

With files from Laura Meader

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