Manitobans under the age of 18 can now book a vaccine appointment.
Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson and Education Minister Cliff Cullen announced today that Manitoba is becoming one of the first jurisdictions in the country to allow young people aged 12 to 17 to book their Pfizer vaccine appointment, with the goal of protecting even more people, families and communities from the third wave of COVID-19.
"Young people have seen the serious effects that COVID-19 has had on their lives, their friendships, families and communities," says Stefanson. "They have shown resiliency, kindness and patience throughout the pandemic, and now it is their turn to be part of the COVID-19 response and help protect themselves, their friends and their families. Now that a vaccine has been approved for youth, this is something we can do together – to protect each other and to help take a stand against this virus."
Beginning today, all young people aged 12 and up are eligible to book their first-dose appointment. The Pfizer vaccine is generally available at super sites and urban Indigenous clinics located throughout the province.
"Manitoba students have persevered through this pandemic, with the support of their families, teachers, friends and community," says Cullen. "For eligible young people, this vaccine promises a return to a new normal and to take part in what we hope will be the largest immunization campaign in their lifetimes. I encourage eligible students and their parents to learn more about the vaccine, how to make an appointment and make the right decision for themselves."
"The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been tested and reviewed, and found to be safe for older children," says Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead, Vaccine Implementation Task Force. "If you're eligible today and you have questions about the vaccine, that's completely normal and understandable. We have good information to answer your questions, you can ask a trusted adult or your health-care provider, or you can look for reliable sources online. If there is one message I want to share, it is this: when we are immunized, we slow the spread of COVID-19. We protect ourselves and the people around us, so we can get back to the activities and the people we love."
All eligible young people aged 12 and older or their parent, guardian or caregiver can book an appointment by calling (toll-free) 1-844-626-8222 or online at https://protectmb.ca. It is ideal if young people aged 12 to 15 can either attend the appointment with a parent, guardian or caregiver or have their parent sign their consent form ahead of time to bring along to make the visit as easy as possible. However, if the youth attends without a guardian and without a signed consent form, they can go through an informed consent process with a clinical lead to assess their ability to consent on their own and proceed with the vaccine.
There are about 111,000 young people aged 12 to 17 in Manitoba.
Health Canada approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12-15 on May 5 and it has been approved for use in people aged 16 and older since Dec. 9, 2020.
Reimer notes the urban Indigenous clinics are designed to increase accessibility and provide culturally safe spaces for First Nations (status and non-status), Métis and Inuit peoples. When non-Indigenous people make appointments or use the walk-in spaces at those sites, it limits access for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. At this time, officials ask that only people who self-identity as First Nations (status or non-status), Métis or Inuit or people who share a household with someone who identifies as Indigenous attend these clinics. Non-Indigenous people are asked to make their appointments at super sites, community pop-up clinics, medical clinics and pharmacies. For more information, visit https://protectmb.ca. An interactive map of immunization sites is available at https://protectmb.ca/current-immunization-sites/.