VICTORIA — British Columbia's health minister says the government is pleased that so many parents are interested in ensuring their children are vaccinated for COVID-19.
Adrian Dix says those who registered their children aged five to 11 should expect to receive an invitation to book an appointment starting Monday.
Dix says about 104,000 children of that group are registered to get vaccinated of the 350,000 eligible to receive the modified dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Health Canada approved the pediatric shot for use in Canada after an independent scientific review confirmed the first vaccine formulated for younger children is safe and effective.
Dix says there may be some frustrations on Day 1 for parents as other people are booking booster shots or making appointments for their first or second vaccination.
He says he understands that many parents are anxious to get this process started for their children and thousands of invitations are going out this week.
"We are off and running with the five-to-11 vaccination campaign and we ask people to be patient, and when their children are invited to be vaccinated to register and get an appointment."
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the same vaccine has been administered to more than three million children in the United States and there have been no “safety signals” as a result.
She says the vaccine will help children and families safely return to activities that benefit physical and mental health.
Dr. Penny Ballem, the executive lead for B.C.'s vaccination drive, has said she expects the full children's immunization effort including second doses to conclude by the end of January.
B.C. reported another 970 COVID-19 infections over a three-day period and 11 more deaths.
A statement released Monday from the Ministry of Health says 91.1 per cent of eligible people 12 and over have received their first shot, while 87.8 per cent have had both doses.
It says there are 303 people in hospital and 115 of those are in intensive care.
Also Monday, Dix said the province won't be making specific changes in response to the latest variant of concern out of southern Africa.
He says the Omicron variant only shows residents need to continue to be vigilant and get their vaccinations.
B.C. is a world leader in genome sequencing of COVID variants and testing travellers coming back to the province helps protect residents and the health system, he says.
Dix says 400,000 people have already had their booster dose, which will also limit the spread when the Omicron variant makes its way to B.C.
"We'll make adjustments that are required."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2021.
The Canadian Press