Ontario will start immunizing children against COVID-19 this month: Moore

OTTAWA — Ontario’s top doctor says he expects that children ages five to 11 will be receiving their first COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the month.

“By the end of this month, we’ll be immunizing five to 11s,” medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore told Newstalk 580 CFRA’s The Morning Rush with Bill Carroll on Wednesday. “I really think we’ll be able to do it.”

Moore said provincial officials have reviewed Ottawa Public Health’s plan to vaccinate children, calling it “brilliant.”

“I’ve talked to Dr. Vera Etches at the Ottawa team; we reviewed their plan yesterday,” he said. “It’s brilliant and they’re ready to go.”

Moore’s timing estimate lines up with Canada’s chief medical advisor, who said last week that Health Canada could authorize the vaccine for kids in ‘one to two weeks.’

That would leave some children at least partially protected for the holiday season.

“It’s a two-dose regime, most likely separated by eight weeks. But the first dose will provide a significant level of protection over the holidays,” Moore said. “So all of us are looking forward to best protecting those children and having a safer holiday.”

On Monday, Moderna announced it has applied to Health Canada for approval of its Spikevax COVID-19 vaccines for children aged six to 11.

The regulator is already reviewing a submission from Pfizer for approval of its vaccine for kids five to 11.

Get your third dose

Moore also urged people who are eligible for third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to get their shots.

“We really do want those who are over 70 to come forward…to get that extra protection as we head into a season that typically increases our social activities and hence the risk of this virus,” Moore said.

People 70 or older are now eligible to book their shots, as well as people who are immunocompromised or have received transplants.

People who received two AstraZeneca doses are also eligible, as are First Nations, Metis and Inuit people.

Health care workers are also eligible, and uptake has been slow, Moore said.

“Only 10 percent of health care workers have come forward who are eligible for their third doses,” Moore said. “We want them to be protected so they feel confident and comfortable to treat patients day in and day out.”

Ontario plans to expand third-dose eligibility to the wider population in the new year.

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