When will children ages 12 and up be able to get vaccinated? A province-by-province look
TORONTO -- Following the announcement that Health Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 12 and up, provinces are now deciding how their vaccine rollouts will reflect this information moving forward.
Although Health Canada has announced their approval based on recent clinical trials, whether or not any children will be receiving the shot anytime soon is up to individual provinces and territories.
Before this announcement, Pfizer was only permitted to be given to those 16 and up in Canada, and the focus of the majority of vaccine rollouts in Canada was on those 18 years and up.
Here is what some provinces and territories have said in response to Health Canada’s announcement.
Children aged 12 to 17 are now eligible to get vaccinated in B.C., and they do not need parental permission, according to the provincial government website.
B.C. has “mature minor” consent legislation which means there is no age limit set for a person to consent for medical treatment, including vaccination.
Anyone between the ages of 12 to 17 can register online for a vaccination appointment, and parents may register and book appoints for their children as well.
The province entered its Phase 3 on May 5, in which anyone over the age of 12 can make an appointment to receive their first dose of the vaccine.
After those aged 30 and up were able to book appointments, the system has now opened up to those ages 12 to 29.
“By this coming Monday, every single Albertan over the age of 12 will be eligible to receive a COVID 19 vaccine,” Premier Jason Kenney said on May 5. “This reflects late-breaking news this morning from Health Canada that the Pfizer vaccine is safe for children of at 12 years of age and older, which is obviously great news.”
Youths aged 12 and older are expected to become eligible to receive a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine starting on Thursday, May 20.
The government’s website states that because those between the ages of 12 and 17 are only approved to receive the Pfizer vaccine, they will only be able to get vaccinated at locations offering that vaccine.
“Administration may occur in school-based programs, pharmacies, or SHA clinics before the end of the school year. Details on school-based programs will be announced prior to May 20,” the website said.
The province announced that eligible young people aged 12 and older can book their first-dose appointment for the Pfizer vaccine on May 14.
“Manitoba is becoming one of the first jurisdictions in the country to allow young people aged 12 to 17 to book their Pfizer vaccine appointment, with the goal of protecting even more people, families and communities from the third wave of COVID-19,” according to a statement.
The province said the Pfizer vaccine is generally available at super sites and urban Indigenous clinics located throughout the province.
There are about 111,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 in Manitoba.
The government said it’s “ideal” if young people between 12 and 15 years old can attend their vaccination appointment with a parent, guardian, or caregiver or have them sign a consent form ahead of time.
In cases where the youth attends the appointment without a guardian or signed consent form, they can go through an “informed consent process” with a clinical lead to assess their ability to consent on their own.
Youth aged 12 to 17 can book an appointment for their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine as of May 23.
Ontario expanded vaccine eligibility to children more than a week ahead of schedule, after officials previously said the province would begin administering the Pfizer vaccine to kids on May 31.
Officials said the timeline was moved up at “the request of some public health units to remove barriers for families requesting vaccines.”
“Expanding vaccines to youth 12 and up will bring us one step closer to normalcy for our students,” said Minister of Education Stephen Lecce.
Children could already receive vaccines at pop-up clinics and in select public health units, including Peel Region prior to May 23.
Ontario said the province will work with public health units to offer both doses of the vaccine to youth in this age group by the end of August.
In early May, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said the province would begin to offer vaccines to children between the ages of 12 and 17 – which represents more than 500,000 kids – before the end of June.
"I think it's wonderful news, and it'll allow us to offer our students a school year next year that will be much more normal," Dube said Thursday.
While details of how the rollout might work for children are scarce, the province expects to offer doses in schools and at vaccination clinics, while children above the age 14 will not need parental consent for the vaccine.
Youths who are 14 and older in Quebec will not need parental consent to receive the vaccine.
On May 26, the provincial government announced that appointments could be booked for children between the ages of 12 and 17 to receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang announced at a briefing on May 17 that all children aged 12 and up should be able to book a COVID-19 vaccine by the following week, after the province expanded their age-based vaccine rollout.
Previously, children aged 12 and up were expected to be eligible for vaccination appointments by June 2021, according to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout schedule listed on the Nova Scotia provincial government website.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
According to the PEI vaccine rollout plan on the province's website, children ages 16 and up will be eligible for the vaccine on May 10, while younger children won’t be eligible until the summer or September.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Youth over the age of 12 who are considered “clinically extremely vulnerable” and those who live in the same household as rotational workers, truck drivers, and flight crews are already eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine
Those 12 and over who don’t meet those criteria will be able to start booking appointments on May 17, according to the provincial government.
In early May, the government announced that they would be expanding their vaccine program to include Pfizer doses.
Around 1,100 doses of Pfizer arrived on May 4, and are slated to be given first to those ages 12 to 17 due to limited supply. Those aged 18 years and older can still receive doses of the Moderna vaccine.
Up to this point, the territory has only received Moderna shipments, but negotiated to exchange further shipments of Moderna for Pfizer “to protect as many residents as possible from the virus,” a news release stated.
Young people in Yellowknife will receive Pfizer first, with more doses slated to arrive in the coming weeks for youth in other communities.
The territory will begin vaccinating all youths between the ages of 12 and 17 with the Pfizer vaccine in the next month with the aim of full vaccination for this group by mid-July.
Health Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said the territory will have enough doses of the Pfizer vaccine to fully vaccinate the 2,641 youths in this age group.
The goal is to have these youths all vaccinated with at least one dose before the end of the school year.
On May 12, the Nunavut government announced they would be arranging to acquire the Pfizer vaccine in order to vaccinate youths over the age of 12. However, they were unable to say when this will happen yet.
“When the Pfizer vaccine does arrive, we will administer it first in communities experiencing an outbreak or at higher risk of introduction,” the territorial government said in a statement.
Iqaluit will likely be the first community to receive the Pfizer vaccine for youths, the government said.
With files from CTVNews.ca writers Ben Cousins, Jackie Dunham, Christy Somos and The Canadian Press