COVID-19 vaccine now available to kids 5-11

Parents and guardians of children aged five to 11 can now book their child’s COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

“The pandemic has been challenging for families and young children. School closures and social isolation from friends, families and activities they enjoy has been difficult,” said Premier Tim Houston. “I strongly encourage families to consider vaccination for their children to protect them and everyone around them from the virus.”

Children will receive Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently the only one approved in Canada for this age group. The formulation of this vaccine is very similar to the adolescent/adult Pfizer vaccine.

Children will need two doses of vaccine at least eight weeks apart and will be considered fully vaccinated 14 days after their second dose. Children who receive both doses before they turn 12 will receive two doses of the pediatric vaccine.

Children who receive their first dose of pediatric vaccine at age 11 and turn 12 before receiving their second dose will receive the adolescent/adult vaccine for their second dose. Doses will still be provided at least eight weeks apart.

There is no change to the dosage or time between doses for youth 12 and older. The authorized interval for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is 21 and 28 days, respectively, however, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends everyone schedule their primary series eight weeks apart for optimal protection. Evidence has shown a longer interval results in longer-lasting protection.

Unless directed by a healthcare provider, children won’t be able to get other routine vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine, and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time. Children will need to receive other vaccines 14 days before or after the COVID-19 vaccine. If families have to choose between vaccinations, the COVID-19 vaccine should be the priority. Anyone 12 and older does not have to wait 14 days between vaccinations.

“The key to safeguarding children against the virus is to get vaccinated and follow public health measures. If your child is eligible, make their appointment now,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. “While this virus tends to lead to mild illness in children most of the time, don’t take a chance with their health or the health of others around them. This virus spreads like wildfire in children and getting this age group vaccinated will really help to prevent spread in our province.”

Families are encouraged to schedule an appointment for their child as soon as they are able. It takes a minimum of 10 weeks for a child in this age group to be fully vaccinated (the eight-week interval between doses, plus two weeks after the second dose). Nova Scotia’s experience with COVID-19 vaccines among older populations has shown that a single dose provides some protection approximately two weeks later, and there is no reason to believe that this would not be the case in younger children.

The Province will have enough pediatric COVID-19 vaccine and appointments to provide every child aged five to 11 their first dose by the end of 2021.

Families should book their child’s appointment online at . Booking by phone is only recommended if online booking is not an option. People who book by phone should expect high call volumes.

Nova Scotians are also reminded to book a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose if they are eligible. There are plenty of available appointments in clinics across the province. People must schedule a booster dose appointment – those who show up to a clinic without an appointment will be turned away.

Quick Facts:
— there are about 65,000 eligible children aged five to 11 in Nova Scotia
— the Province has adopted NACI’s recommendations on Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for this age group

Source: Release

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