Toronto Public Health (TPH) says it’s gearing up to begin offering vaccines to children between five and 11 years old.
Toronto Public Health says this is based upon Health Canada approval and receipt of vaccine for this age group from Ontario’s Ministry of Health.
The Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty and Moderna Spikevax vaccines are currently approved for those 12 and older in Canada, with Health Canada confirming the “safety and effectiveness in people younger than 12 years of age have not yet been established.” Pfizer has said it intends to seek authorization soon for a vaccine intended for kids aged five to 11.
Toronto Public Health says it will inform the public on the vaccination plans for children aged five to 11 upon vaccine approval by Health Canada and subject to guidance issued by the provincial government. Approximately 200,000 children in this age group are eligible to get vaccinated in Toronto.
“We continue to do everything we can as a City government to fight COVID-19 and save lives. Toronto Public Health has formed this Vaccination Planning Group so that our city will be ready to help children get vaccinated as quickly as possible following the necessary approvals from Health Canada,” said Mayor JohnTory on Monday.
“This will help keep our kids safe and provide greater protection in our schools and communities across the city.”
Toronto’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, last week recommended the province require COVID-19 vaccinations for eligible students to support the safe re-opening of schools further.
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has also requested the province make the vaccine mandatory for students.
Researchers originally believed that children may be at higher risk for the severe disease since this is typically seen with respiratory infection in the pediatric population.
Among the 150 children admitted to the hospital directly because of the coronavirus, the most common symptoms were fever (70 percent) and cough (34 percent).
“Vaccination plays an incredibly important role in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting our community so that children can participate in activities that benefit their health and well-being as safely as possible,” said Dr. de Villa.
“My team at Toronto Public Health is pleased to be working with our partners to prepare to vaccinate children between the ages of five and 11 as soon as vaccines are approved for this age group.”
There have been numerous confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks in TDSB and Ontario schools since the start of September.
Last week, Toronto’s health unit identified more than two positive infections at Blessed Margherita of Cittá di Castello Catholic School in North York.
On Monday, a Courtice elementary school was shut down following an outbreak of COVID-19. The Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board confirmed that at least 11 cases had been tied to Monsignor Leo Cleary Catholic Elementary School.
The school will be closed for at least two weeks.
In a letter to parents and guardians, the school’s principal said administrators at the school and board level have continued to work closely with the Durham Region Health Department (DRHD) to manage this evolving situation.
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