'An exciting day for P.E.I.': COVID-19 vaccinations for kids begin this week

The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, for children aged five to 11, is expected to arrive on P.E.I. Tuesday. Clinics to deliver the vaccine are scheduled to start later this week.

Parents can make appointments now

Vaccines are expected to arrive on P.E.I. Tuesday. (Ben Gray/The Associated Press)

The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, for children aged five to 11, is expected to arrive on P.E.I. Tuesday, and clinics to deliver the vaccine are scheduled to start later this week.

P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison made the announcement in a COVID-19 briefing Tuesday.

"This is an exciting day for P.E.I.," she said. "The approval and availability of pediatric vaccination provides an option for significant added protection for school-aged children."

The vaccine will be delivered in two doses, with eight weeks between the shots. Appointments at public health clinics can now be booked through the P.E.I. government web site or the Skip the Waiting Room app. A phone line — 1-844-975-3303 — will be available Tuesday afternoon.

School-based clinics for Grades 4-6 will be offered in early January.

'I understand the concern'

Morrison said the pandemic has taken a toll on kids, interrupting school and extra curricular activities, which has had a profound affect on their mental and physical wellbeing.

At briefing Nov. 23, 2021 (CBC)

 "Time with friends has been interrupted and many youth feel lonely and socially isolated."

She said the majority of parents surveyed do plan to have their children vaccinated.

"I know some families who are keen and will be making appointments today, while others are undecided," she said, adding that parents should be supported regardless of their decision.

Health officials stressed that more than three million children have been vaccinated in the U.S. with no safety concerns.

"As a parent myself with two children in this age group, I understand the concern people have for their kids," said Health P.E.I. Chief of Nursing Marion Dowling.

"Health P.E.I. will not be vaccinating any children in this age group without parental consent. These vaccines are safe, have been delivered to millions of children already in the U.S., and I am looking forward to having my own children vaccinated."

Province also announces new cases

At the same news conference, Morrison announced seven new cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total number of active cases to 28. P.E.I. has seen a total of 356 cases since the pandemic began..

Canada received its first doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines for children on Sunday evening.

The federal government and the pharmaceutical giant have agreed on an accelerated delivery of more than 2.9 million doses, scheduled to arrive by the end of the week. The delivery comes just a few days after Health Canada authorized the vaccine for pediatric use. 

The shots are meant for kids aged five to 11 and represent a major milestone in the country's vaccination effort.

"The last week has been demanding, to say the least," Morrison said.

"As we have said before, while we are weary of COVID-19 and ready to be done with it, COVID-19 is not done with us."