Ontario’s health minister says provincial government staff are currently reviewing COVID-19 vaccine rollout plans submitted by public health units and insists officials will be ready if Health Canada approves the administration of shots to the younger age group.
“We will be ready as soon as it’s approved to be able to distribute it and have it available for children across the entire province, so we are actively working on that file now,” Christine Elliott told reporters Tuesday morning during an announcement on flu shots.
“We have the forces on the ground ready to go and I know that parents are concerned about this but they need not be.”
Elliott said a centralized team in the Ontario Ministry of Health is reviewing the plans submitted by the 34 public health units across the province.
She said a variety of delivery methods have been put forward such as through pharmacies, public health clinics, primary care medical staff, and that it will all depend on factors such as geographic location of the public health unit.
With respect to the possibility of holding clinics in schools, she said it could happen outside of school hours (either in the evenings or on weekends) in order to allow parents of younger children to be present.
The comments came a day after Pfizer made a submission to Health Canada asking for permission for its COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, to be made available for children between the ages of five and 11.
Under the submission, the doses are about a third of the size of the ones given to those 12 and older. It’s possible additional doses might need to be procured.
Pfizer already submitted clinical trial data for its child-sized dose to Health Canada at the beginning of the month, and made a formal request for approval to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has also been tested on children as young as six months old. Topline data for children under five years old is expected as soon as the end of the year.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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