More provinces outline plans to vaccinate kids against COVID-19 as 1st Ontario children get shots | CBC News


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More provinces on Tuesday outlined their respective rollout plans for vaccinating children aged five to 11 against COVID-19, while a small group of Ontario children in that age range became the first in that province to be inoculated.

British Columbia is going to start vaccinating children aged five to 11 against COVID-19 next week, the province announced. Invitations to book appointments will start going out Monday to families with children who have been registered through the “Get Vaccinated” portal.

The children will be receiving Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine, the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in Canada for children in that age group. Health Canada approved the vaccine on Friday.

Quebec Premier François Legault said the province’s youth vaccination campaign will move into schools next week. Legault said it’s a “personal choice” for parents to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 and they shouldn’t feel pressured, but doing so could help change the epidemiological situation across the province.

“Scientists have made sure the vaccine is very safe for children. They will receive a pediatric dose for them,” Legault said.

Quebec quietly opened reservations for kids Tuesday morning.

An adult and child walk into a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal. Quebec announced its plan to inoculate children aged five to 11 on Tuesday. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

People in Alberta, meanwhile, will be able to begin registering their children for a shot starting Wednesday morning — with the first appointments opening up on Friday.

Premier Jason Kenney said regardless of whether they are vaccinated, children aged five to 11 will not be subject to Alberta’s restrictions exemption program.

“We want parents to take the time they need to assess their situation, review the data and make the best choice for their kids and their family,” Kenney said at a news conference.

Pediatric vaccinations will be administered at Alberta Health Services clinics around the province and at pharmacies where AHS clinics are not conveniently located.

In Ontario, which already outlined its plan, a spokesperson for Toronto Mayor John Tory said the first shots went into kids’ arms late in the afternoon at a city vaccine clinic after some of the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech shots arrived early. A group of 10 patients from the Hospital for Sick Children and their families were invited to participate.

Tory, provincial Health Minister Christine Elliott and Toronto’s medical officer of health were on site for the event.

The City of Toronto said a small number of clinics would vaccinate children on Wednesday before appointments for more of that cohort pick up on Thursday.

Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador have also announced their plans to offer appointments for this age range. Nova Scotia, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon have yet to detail their rollout plans.

What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Provinces, parents prepare for kids’ COVID-19 vaccine rollout:

Provinces, parents prepare for kids’ COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Many provinces will start rolling out COVID-19 vaccines to children aged five to 12 this week and parents are preparing to book appointments and alleviate their concerns and those of their kids. 4:06

What’s happening around the world

As of Tuesday evening, more than 258.5 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a case-tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.1 million.

In Europe, The World Health Organization’s Europe office said projections show its 53-country region could face another 700,000 deaths in the COVID-19 pandemic by next spring, topping two million in total.

WHO Europe, which is based in Copenhagen, also cited growing evidence of a decline in protection against infection and mild disease through vaccines, and said a “booster dose” should be given as a priority to the most vulnerable populations — including people with weakened immune systems — as well as people over 60 and health-care workers.

The United Nations health agency’s international headquarters in Geneva, however, has repeatedly called for a moratorium on the use of boosters through year-end so that doses can be made available for many developing countries that have faced a severe lack of the COVID-19 vaccines compared to richer nations.

WHO Europe called on people to get vaccinated and respect proper hygiene and practice social distancing to help stop the spread of the virus.

A woman walks under the Procession of Princes porcelain tile mural — an area that would normally be crowded with tourists — in Dresden, Germany, on Tuesday. The WHO’s Europe office said projections show its 53-country region could surpass two million total COVID-19 deaths by next spring. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

In Asia, a pandemic-spurred demand for flu vaccines in India has surged since a devastating second wave of COVID-19 brought the nation’s health-care system to its knees earlier this year.

Vaccinations against influenza are not very common in India due to a lack of awareness, access and steep prices, and they are also not part of the federal government’s universal immunization program that includes polio, tuberculosis and hepatitis B.

Still, more than 1,000 shots were administered at Manipal Hospital’s sites in the tech hub of Bengaluru in southern India between July and September, compared with about 3,000 for all of last year, according to the health-care provider.

“Initially, everyone thought if you got flu vaccines, COVID-19 won’t affect you severely,” said Dr. Ram Shankar Mishra, director of internal medicine at the Max Super Specialty Hospital, Saket, in the capital of New Delhi.

Mishra added that demand has increased, even as COVID-19 vaccinations gather pace.

Health workers take part in a door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination drive in Siliguri, India, on Tuesday. (Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images)

In the Americas, Mexico will analyze administering booster vaccine doses against COVID-19, especially for older people, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday, softening his previous stance on the need for a third shot.

Less than two months ago, Lopez Obrador had rejected suggestions that Mexico should administer a third vaccine shot, saying experts deemed it to be unnecessary. But his government has gradually opened the door to giving more people shots, including teenagers.

“The booster vaccine will be analyzed in some cases, especially for older adults, but that still has to be decided by the doctors, the specialists,” he told a news conference.

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