1st shipment of vaccines for Sask. kids 5 to 11 could come in early- to mid-November
190 pediatric clinics to open, unvaccinated parents could get their shots there too
Saskatchewan hopes to receive its first shipment of an expected total of 112,000 vaccine doses meant for kids aged five to 11 in early- to mid-November, says the province's medical health officer responsible for immunization.
"Obviously, this is dependent on when Health Canada will approve this vaccine or any other changes that might come out of that," said Dr. Tania Diener during a news conference on child vaccination Tuesday.
Officials announced that 190 pediatric vaccine clinics will open in more than 100 communities in the province to inoculate children. Vaccines will also be available at the clinics for any parents who remain unvaccinated. A full listing of clinic locations and times will be available at www.saskatchewan.ca/COVID19-Vaccine.
Clinical trials indicate that the Pfizer vaccine had no safety concerns noted among children 5 to 11 years of age, according to a Ministry of Health release issued in tandem with the news conference.
- Read more details of Saskatchewan's child vaccination program by clicking here or scroll to the bottom of this page.
The consent of parents will be required for any child vaccinations.
While parents cannot yet book appointments, they can call 1-833-SASK-VAX (1-833-727-5829) toll-free to book appointments once the vaccine has arrived.
Therapy dogs will be among the practices used to soothe the nerves of any anxious kids.
Saskatchewan will receive enough first-dose vaccines to inoculate all five to 11 year olds who want it, officials said.
According to data shared during Tuesday's news conference, about 24 per cent of Saskatchewan's new COVID cases in October were among children aged 11 and under.
Homes accounted for 48 per cent of exposures in children from Sept. 1 to Oct. 14, while schools accounted for 23 per cent.
"There might still be kids that are unimmunized at the end of the day, but having the majority of them immunized in those settings will definitely make a difference to the transmission in either the education setting or in the community at large," Diener said.
Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, said on Friday that Pfizer has submitted its package for approval and that Health Canada was going through the approval process.
He said he expected the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to come out in support of the plan.
In late September, Shahab voiced concerns about the province's future child-vaccination rates, based on the vaccination uptake among older Saskatchewan residents at the time.
"If we go by current trends in parents of those children in various parts of Saskatchewan, [it] certainly does not give us great optimism for the uptake in children," he said.
As of Monday, 85 per cent of all eligible Saskatchewan residents had been vaccinated with one dose while 76.8 per cent had been fully vaccinated.
As of last Thursday, 68 per cent of youth aged 12 to 17 were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — tied with people in their thirties for the second lowest coverage percentage of any age group in the province.
Among people aged 18 to 29, 66 per cent were fully vaccinated.
Read Tuesday's full child vaccination presentation below:
with files from Darren Major