This morning, Health Canada announced that they have now approved a modified dosage of the Pfizer vaccine to be used in children aged 5 to 11. This is a major development and should help further slow the spread of COVID-19 across Canada.
From their review, Health Canada determined that the modified dose (1/3rd the size of the standard Pfizer dose), was slightly over 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 in children aged 5 to 11 and found no serious side effects. While Health Canada has authorized the administration of two-doses, with a 3-week wait between shots, right now the NACI is recommending an 8-week interval. The reason for the extended interval is that studies have found the longer period generates a stronger immune system response.
So, when will kids in Ontario be able to start getting their shots?
As it stands right now, Ontario should start receiving the kid-sized doses within the next week, and Toronto Public Health is taking the lead in their distribution in our city. Right now, the plan is to primarily deliver these in a variety of settings, including all five city-run immunization clinics (which will have extended hours), participating pharmacies, and health teams.
For the city-run vaccination clinics, they should have approximately 20,000 appointments available between Nov 25 and Dec 5 – and those appointments will be able to be booked through the provincial vaccine portal.
Vaccines will also be distributed in in schools (though not during school hours). In the coming days, as these details are finalized, I will be sure to share more specifics on vaccine access for children aged 5 to 11.
You can read more about the Team Toronto plan here.
While I welcome this vaccine approval whole-heartedly, there is one frustration that I must address. Why is vaccine registration in Ontario for this new age group is not already underway – why aren’t we ready immediately? While we’ve known for weeks that this approval was coming soon, but still the Ford government dragged their feet in preparation.
At almost the same time that we learned that vaccines will be coming for children aged 5 to 11 this morning, we also learned that our province was reporting an additional 793 cases of COVID-19, another increase that brings our seven-day average up to 625 – the highest it’s been in nearly two months. As it stands, ICU cases are holding fairly steady, but we will have to see in the coming weeks if the numbers there begin to climb as well.
As always – I want to remind everyone to please get vaccinated.
This is the end of a busy week, and I’m happy to share with everyone some of what I’ve been up to in just the last 48 hours.
Yesterday, I made a stop at the Holy Blossom Temple Out-of-the-Cold program for their first day back of their new season. This year, they are handing out hot meals on Thursdays from 4 to 5PM at the Temple’s Dewbourne entrance, as well as warm clothing when they have it on hand. When I swung by yesterday, I donated neck warmers that we’re knitted by volunteers from the National Initiative for Eating Disorders (NIED).
It was fantastic to connect with the volunteers at the site, and I’d like to remind everyone that if you, or someone you know is in need of a hot meal – please drop by Holy Blossom Temple’s (1950 Bathurst Street) program on Thursdays 4 to 5PM.