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When will B.C. children be able to get their COVID vaccine?

Dr. Bonnie Henry 'really hopeful' that Pfizer vaccine for 5-to-11-year-olds will be available by the end of the calendar year, and hopefully as early as the end of October
Child getting COVID vaccine
B.C.'s provincial health officer is "really hopeful" children aged 5 to 11 will see vaccination by the end of the calendar year or even as early as the end of October.

It’s a question that’s on many parents’ minds as they send their children off to school: When will elementary school-aged children in B.C. be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines?

The answer? It could be as early as Halloween but it could also be more like Christmas.

“It may be as early as the end of October, is what we’re hearing, but it may take more time than that,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said at a briefing Oct. 1. “I am really hopeful we will have vaccination for the five-to-11 age group before the end of this calendar year, and hopefully as early as the end of October.”

According to Pfizer’s plan, five- to 11-year-olds would receive one-third the dose of the adult/teen vaccine.

Henry noted it’s also likely to be reformulated to be fridge-stable, rather than requiring special low-temperature freezing as it currently does – a change she said would be “great news” for getting it out to children.

“That makes it a whole lot easier to distribute,” she said.

Henry said that once a data package is submitted to Health Canada, history shows it takes "several weeks" to review the information.

Canadian Press has reported that Pfizer submitted its preliminary data regarding children aged five to 11 to Health Canada on Friday afternoon, which was earlier than expected. Health Canada said it expects the formal filing of the company’s full submission in mid-October.

Pfizer and BioNTech said last week that researchers found the vaccine antibody responses in children were just as strong as those found in teenagers and young adults getting regular-strength doses.

With files from Canadian Press

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
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