COVID-19 booster eligibility expanded to kids

·2 min read

As children are just days away from returning to the classroom, Ontario’s top doctor expands COVID-19 booster eligibility to kids aged five to 11.

According to Dr. Kieran Moore, this is part of the province’s plan to prepare for the fall respiratory illness season.

Health Canada approved COVID-19 booster doses for children aged 5 to 11 on Aug. 19. The expansion of eligibility for children comes after Health Canada approved the use of Pfizer’s vaccine as a booster earlier this month for kids in the 5-11 age range. Last November, the age group became eligible to receive the first dose.

“I know it wasn’t quick enough for some individuals, but I appreciate people’s patience,” said Moore.

The province states appointments will be available through its vaccine portal, and parents can also book through their local public health units, participating pharmacies or healthcare providers.

“While we are updating our public health guidance, preventing COVID-19 and other infections is vital to keeping our families, schools and communities safe and healthy,” said Moore. “I strongly encourage all Ontarians to take advantage of vaccine and booster doses that are recommended and available to them, which now includes the availability of a booster dose for children aged five to 11.”

He reminded Ontarians they are encouraged to protect one another by respecting public health guidance, including staying home and taking precautions if sick.

As colder weather approaches, Moore is asking Ontarians to do three important things: continue wearing a mask when “it’s right for you,” be up to date with all vaccinations, and stay home if sick.

“I’d like to remind Ontarians that wearing a good-fitting mask does not only prevent the spread of COVID-19, but also the flu,” he said.

According to Minister of Health Sylvia Jones, staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters is still the best tool to keep people healthy and out of hospitals and to ensure Ontario’s economy remains open.

“Expanding access to boosters for ages five to 11 will give parents more opportunities to protect themselves, their families and their communities this fall as kids go back to school and as people are spending more time indoors,” she said.

To be eligible for the booster shot, a child must be at least six months removed from their second dose of the vaccine. The province recommends that parents who have questions reach out to their primary care provider or their local health unit.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News