Vaccinating younger children against COVID-19 could soon become a possibility in Canada, a move supported by Alberta, according to reporting by the Toronto Star.
Sources told the publication that Health Canada officials would be making the announcement approving the Pfizer vaccine for those between ages five and 11 on Friday, and 2.9 million doses are expected to be delivered to Canada by the end of November.
The United States is now administering shots to children as young as five after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted authorization in October.
Alberta Health officials have made preparations for vaccine rollout by allowing parents and guardians to preregister their children on the online vaccine booking system, but specific timelines have not been unveiled.
According to the province, there is slightly more than 390,000 children in Alberta between the ages of five and 11.
As well, Alberta Health has no plans to include younger children in the Restrictions Exemptions Program where proof of vaccination is required to participate in many activities.
The province said it would encourage vaccines for younger children.
“We know from listening to parents the importance of really for that five to 11 year old age group, underlining the fact that it is a parental choice for them to make,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Tuesday,
“There is a societal benefit to having as many people as possible with vaccine protection, because that does minimize the chances that individuals in that age group would transmit to others.”
As for vaccine requirements for school settings, the rules for staff and teachers will not be the same for students. Officials do not expect mandates for little ones.
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says all students are legally allowed to go to school regardless of their vaccination status.
LaGrange wrote a letter encouraging school boards to require staff and any adults entering the school to have proof of vaccination or a negative test result.
The Calgary Board of Education announced last month that it would require staff and volunteers to be vaccinated by Dec. 17.