Toronto preparing to vaccinate kids ages five and up for COVID-19 when the time comes
TORONTO -- Toronto Public Health (TPH) announced Monday that it is getting ready to vaccinate children ages five and up.
The agency has formed a “COVID-19 Vaccination Planning Group,” which includes health partners, school boards, community representatives and The Ministry of Health, in order to get ready for the rollout.
Last week, Pfizer released preliminary information from a second phase trial of their COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of five and 11.
The Pfizer release stated, "in participants five to 11 years of age, the vaccine was safe, well-tolerated and showed robust neutralizing antibody responses."
On Monday morning, Health Minister Christine Elliott told reporters that the province is awaiting finalization on whether the Pfizer vaccine can be administered to children.
“We're going to take a look at anything that is going to protect people, including young people,” Elliott said,
“We know that the take-up of 12 to 17-year-olds has been very good with respect to receiving the vaccines. Now we're waiting for finalization on whether the Pfizer vaccine ... can be used for children aged five to 11.”
Speaking at Toronto's Board of Health meeting Monday, the city's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, said TPH is trying “to make sure that [they're] ready whenever Health Canada has made their assessment and has provided appropriate approvals for the vaccine."
She says they will be ready to administer the vaccines as early as Nov. 1.
Since students returned to the classroom in early September, transmission of the virus at school has been a top concern.
As of Friday, there were 1,372 known active COVID-19 cases in schools in the province, affecting 750 of Ontario’s 4,844 publicly-funded schools.
On Monday, a school in the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board announced its closure after at least 11 cases have been tied to an outbreak at Monsignor Leo Clearly Catholic Elementary School.
According to TPH, there are approximately 200,000 children aged five to 11 in the city that would be eligible to get vaccinated.
City of Toronto data shows that 85 per cent of eligible Toronto residents have initiated the vaccine process, while 80 per cent have completed it.
With files from CP24's Codi Wilson.