Provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry providing a COVID update earlier this year. Province of BC / Flickr

BC to roll out COVID vaccine invitations for kids 5-11 starting Nov 29

The vaccine contains a lower dose specifically created for children aged 5-11, and experts recommend a minimum interval of eight weeks between the first and second doses.

By Srushti Gangdev | November 23, 2021 |1:42 pm

The province will begin sending out invitations to parents of children 5-11 to receive their COVID vaccines next Monday, provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry announced Tuesday afternoon.

The rollout plan was unveiled days after Health Canada officially approved the first pediatric vaccine against COVID, made by Pfizer.

The vaccine contains a lower dose specifically created for children aged 5-11, and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends a minimum interval of eight weeks between the first and second doses.

Parents or legal guardians need to give verbal consent at the time of vaccination, and appointments are mandatory. Vaccinations will take place at community clinics, including at clinics specially set up for families.

Special provisions at those clinics will include healthcare providers trained in childhood vaccinations like those for mumps and flu and on-site supports for kids with special needs. There will also be private spaces for families who need a quiet place to get their vaccinations, or for children who have needle anxiety.

In remote and First Nations communities, health authorities will come to the community to offer vaccinations. In some cases, children 5-11 can be vaccinated at the same time as booster doses are offered to adults.

The COVID vaccine is safe for children, and Henry presented data Tuesday showing its effectiveness in reducing infection and severe illness among children 12-17. The rate of infection per 100,000 people between July and November in the age cohort was 4,476.5 among the unvaccinated, compared with 351.7 among those who have received at least one dose.

Likewise, the rate of hospitalization per 100,000 people was 37.3 for unvaccinated children 12-17—compared to zero for those who were partially or fully vaccinated.

The province is now asking families to register their children at Get Vaccinated BC. Of the approximately 350,000 children across BC in the 5-11 age cohort, about 87,000 are currently registered. The BCCDC will also be launching an information campaign to provide families with the information on vaccines that they need.

Srushti Gangdev

Reporter at Burnaby Beacon

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