Manitoba government expects high uptake for children's COVID-19 vaccine

·2 min read

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government says it will move quickly once the federal government approves a COVID-19 vaccine for children between five and 11 years old.

The province says it will distribute doses in many ways, including at schools, pharmacies, doctors offices and regional clinics.

Health Minister Audrey Gordon says a recent survey of parents found 75 per cent of respondents intended to get their kids vaccinated; 15 per cent were unsure.

Health Canada is reviewing Pfizer-BioNTech's submission for approval of its COVID-19 vaccine for younger children, and there have been indications that a decision could come by the end of the month.

Manitoba's chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, says there is no plan at the moment to require kids under 12 to be vaccinated to attend the province's public spaces, unlike the vaccine proof needed by anyone 12 and over to get into cinemas, restaurants, concerts and major sporting events.

The province has announced 162 new COVID-19 infections and a five-day test-positivity rate of 5.7 per cent.

"Our trajectory is not in the right direction right now. We know that our health-care system is continually at risk of being overwhelmed," Roussin said Wednesday.

The Opposition New Democrats are urging the Progressive Conservative government to hold an inquiry into its response to the pandemic. Manitoba has registered the second-highest death rate among the provinces, behind Quebec, and had to ship 57 intensive care patients to other provinces last spring.

"We need to have an inquiry that is independent, that is going to be willing to ask some tough questions ... but most importantly, to bring back some recommendations for the future," said NDP Leader Wab Kinew.

If the Tories don't call an inquiry, the NDP will if it wins the next election slated for 2023, he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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