The Saskatchewan Provincial Government announced on Tuesday its plan to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for children five to 11 years old.
Saskatchewan has ordered 112,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines that are formulated for children in that age range.
The province is expecting that the delivery will take place in mid-November.
Dr. Tania Diener, Medical Health Officer responsible for immunization and physician co-lead of SHA’s COVID-19 immunization campaign, talked about where most of the COVID-19 transmissions are happening among children.
“When we look at transmission, where did it occur among kids from Sept. 1st to Oct. 14, you can see that almost half of them occurred within a household environment and about 23 per cent in educational institutions," she said.
Parents' or guardians' consent must be provided and it will be documented in the child’s immunization records.
“These consent forms can be signed at the clinic with the help of our trained professionals. Paper copies will also be provided and can be sent in with children as long as it has a signature of a parent or a guardian,” said Sheila Anderson, Vaccine Chief responsible for SHA’s COVID-19 immunization campaign.
The vaccinations will be available at a number of locations including participating pharmacies, SHA walk-in clinics, mobile clinics, schools and venues with easy community access near schools.
“So, there will be approximately 190 clinics in more than 100 communities across the province that will be offering pediatric vaccines," said Anderson.
“These are locations that are familiar to most of the public, ones that we have already been providing our adult and adolescent vaccines at.”
Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine is a bit different than the adult vaccine with smaller doses of the vaccine.
According to the province, Pfizer studies have shown that the expected vaccine side effects such as soreness in the injection site, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches and chills are “well tolerated” and clear up in one to two days. Two doses of the vaccine are recommended.
Diener said getting children vaccinated is another step towards getting back to normal.
“It's so important for kids to be part of a social environment in the education system, being part of extracurricular activities,” Diener said.
“It's important for their emotional well-being, but also for their physical well-being and this is part of why we should immunize these kids.”
The vaccine has yet to be approved by Health Canada for those ages five to 11.
When the vaccine is available, appointments can be made by calling 1-833-Sask-VAX (1-833-727-5829) or online at Saskatchewan.ca/covid19-vaccine or at participating pharmacies.