Manitoba to unveil vaccine plan for young children
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This article was published 19/07/2022 (313 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba’s top doctor is set to reveal the province’s plan to vaccinate children under age five against COVID-19.
Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin will address Manitobans this week for the first time since May, said Health Minister Audrey Gordon.
“This is an exciting announcement for so many families that have been waiting for Health Canada to approve the vaccine,” Gordon said during an unrelated announcement.
Roussin will speak about the approval process and the rollout of the shots to children aged six months to five years old, Gordon said. Health Canada approved Moderna’s Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine for the younger age group on July 14.
The drug regulator has determined the benefits of the vaccine for young children outweigh potential risks and has approved a two-dose primary series of 25 microgram shots. The second dose is to be given four weeks after the first. Doses are half the size of shots approved for children aged six to 11.
Gordon could not say Tuesday when the shots would be available to Manitoba’s youngest residents. The province had warned vaccine supplies were expected to be limited in the first weeks of the rollout and doses would be doled out on a priority basis, following federal advice.
Public health is also preparing for a comprehensive vaccine campaign in the fall to get Manitobans up to date on their COVID-19 immunizations, Gordon said.
“A lot of work is taking place and we’ll continue to prepare so that Manitobans are protected going forward,” Gordon said.
Advocates are pushing Manitoba to expand its fourth-dose vaccine rollout as other provinces open up eligibility to all adults.
Quebec, Ontario, and now Alberta have all expanded fourth doses to all adults over age 18.
The Manitoba Health Coalition, a group that advocates for the preservation of public health care, is calling on the provincial government to do the same.
“If we see another wave of COVID-19 that looks anything like we saw just a few months ago in January… we’re in a lot of trouble,” said Thomas Linner, the coalition’s director.
Manitoba’s emergency rooms and critical care systems have been described to the coalition as “on the brink,” Linner said. He also called on the government to release modelling and an action plan for how it will deal with an impending surge in transmission.
“As a seventh wave of COVID-19 is about to hit us, we need access to a fourth dose, but we also need a lot more,” he said.
Currently, Manitobans who live in personal care homes or elderly congregate living settings; people age 50 and up; First Nations, Inuit and Métis people aged 30 or older; and people age 18 to 49 who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, can get a fourth dose.
The province should be leading the conversation to inform Manitobans about when they and their loved ones can expect to be eligible for the second booster. It’s been more than six months since many Manitobans under 50 had their third shot.
“Right now, we have institutions like the University of Manitoba going out on their own on things like mask mandates, simply because the province of Manitoba has given up the fight against COVID-19. That’s what’s unacceptable, and that’s what has to change,” Linner said.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.
Katie May is a general-assignment reporter for the Free Press.