The Manitoba government is slightly expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to permit children who are turning 12 this year to receive Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Starting Monday, Manitobans born on or before December 31, 2009, are eligible for vaccination.
That means between 4,000 and 5,000 11-year-olds are now eligible and don’t have to wait to turn 12, said Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of the region’s vaccine implementation task force.
“We’re going to move forward with this expanded cohort to allow better protections in schools,” she said at a press conference on Monday.
A major reason for expanding vaccine eligibility is school-based vaccine clinics in the fall, Reimer said.
“It became clear that, logistically, it was a much better approach to include the entire cohort instead of breaking it up and having some of the children in a grade getting a vaccine and others not,” she said.
Some students entering Grade 7 are still 11 at the start of the school year.
Students don’t have to wait for vaccine clinics at school to be vaccinated, though, Reimer added.
Alberta additionally provides vaccines to children turning 12 this year.
Health Canada has not approved any COVID-19 vaccines for kids under the age of 12.
To make an appointment at a supersite or pop-up clinic, use Manitoba’s online booking portal or call 1-844-626-8222.