COVID-19 vaccine appointments for Alberta children under 5 can be made starting Tuesday

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More than 234,000 Albertans are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to an Alberta government news release. (Sean Rayford/Associated Press - image credit)
More than 234,000 Albertans are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to an Alberta government news release. (Sean Rayford/Associated Press - image credit)

Parents and guardians in Alberta will be able to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments for their young children starting Tuesday, the provincial government said in a news release Friday afternoon.

Health Canada recently approved the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine for anyone six months old or older, which gives caregivers with children from six months old to four years old an option for their kids to be immunized.

In Alberta, those parents and guardians can start booking vaccination appointments on Tuesday through the online booking system or by calling Health Link at 811, Alberta Health announced Friday via news release.

"While most children are not at high risk of severe outcomes, children under five have higher risks than those age five to 11," said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, in the release.

For parents like Emily Newman, who has two kids under five, the announcement is a major relief.

"It's crazy to me that my kids don't even have any protection yet," she said. "So it's just such a great feeling to know that we can finally do something more for them to keep them safe.

"I've been waiting so long for it just watching the news all the time. I had been emailing people and calling the Minister of Health office trying to get them to release some information."

The vaccine will have to be administered at Alberta Health Services clinics, because the scope of practice for pharmacists is immunizing people age five or older, the release said.

Alberta and Newfoundland were the last provinces to roll out vaccinations for kids under five years old.

Newman said with her oldest child starting kindergarten in September, she considered travelling out of province to vaccinate her son.

"Saskatchewan has been booking kids for a little while now. So, we were prepared to do a big drive with them. Get it done there if we were allowed to. So it'll be nice that we don't have to now."

Edmonton mom Cassandra Wyman says vaccinating her one-year-old son Phillip will allow them to do more activities as a family.

"We have lots of things that we want to do. He's 12 months old, and he's ready to explore the world. We want to share the world with him. And we just need to make sure he's safe first," Wyman told CBC.

Children under five who live in a First Nation can be vaccinated through the community's nursing station or public health clinic, the release said.

The release says children from six months old to 11 years old are recommended to receive their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least eight weeks after getting their first.

A child who is "moderately to severely immunocompromised" should receive three doses, with each dose being four to eight weeks apart.

Friday's announcement means over 234,000 more Albertans are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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