Ontario top doctor does ‘not anticipate’ those aged 5 to 11 being included in proof of vax system

Ontario’s top doctor says he does “not anticipate” that those aged five to 11 will be included in the province’s proof of COVID-19 vaccination system now that shots are being administered to that age group.

Dr. Kieran Moore made the remarks during a press conference Thursday in response to a reporter’s question.

“Because this is such a new rollout and we want parents to feel confident in the decisions that they make and not feel coerced by any means — we want them to make a judgement based on the risks and the benefits of the vaccine and, in my opinion, the vaccine’s benefits far outweigh any risk — we do not anticipate … making it applicable to the five- to 11-year-olds,” he said.

Read more: New report shows 6 fully vaccinated Ontarians under 60 have died with COVID since shots available

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“We need time to continue to immunize these children, to continue to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of (the vaccine).

“The safety evidence continues to build that they’re just as safe as the 12 and over age groups but it would be very premature to mandate their inclusion in my opinion, and I do believe of that of the government, into the verification certification process at present.”

However, Moore said businesses can determine their own rules with regards to proof of vaccination requirements and may choose to include those aged five to 11.

When asked why children aged 12 and older are included in the province’s proof of vaccination system but those who are younger are not, Moore said more evidence needs to be gathered to be able to demonstrate the pediatric shot’s safety and efficacy.

Read more: Child COVID vaccine clinics ramping up in Ontario

“We do have good science for the 12 to 17, we’ve established its safety, its efficacy, its benefits, and hence it was included in the verification certification process and we just need to build that evidence base of the vaccine,” he said.

“It’s new, it needs time, and we’ll build the science to support its implementation but it’s a brand new rollout so I honestly don’t see its integration into the verification process at all.”

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The Ontario government currently requires that those aged 12 and older show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to enter certain establishments in the province, such as indoor dining areas and gyms.

Those under the age of 18 don’t need to show proof of vaccination when entering an indoor sport or recreation facility “solely for the purpose of actively … participating in an organized sport,” according to the government’s website, but those over 18 are required to do so.

The province’s proof of vaccination requirements may start to be lifted in January for some establishments if health indicators remain stable, according to a government plan released last month.

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COVID-19 vaccinations begin for kids aged 5 to 11 in Toronto

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