The announcement follows last week’s federal approval of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children in this age group, which the province says totals more than 76,000.
Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health official, said the initial vaccine supplies are limited to just under 15,000 doses, meaning higher-risk children who meet certain criteria will be prioritized.
Kids who are at least six months old and have medical conditions including chronic lung disease, airway abnormalities, congenital or chronic heart or circulatory diseases, or are moderately to severely immunocompromised will receive access first, as will those with neurologic disorders, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or chronic diseases related to premature birth.
First Nations, Inuit, and Metis children are also able to receive the first batch of vaccines.
Once a further shipment of vaccine is received — expected in late July or early August — eligibility will expand to include more kids in the age group.
“While we will have enough vaccine for all children in the near future, our initial delivery is limited to 14,900 doses,” Roussin said.
Parents of eligible children can begin booking appointments online or by phone as of Monday, and as this vaccine is a two-dose series (with a recommended eight weeks between doses), the recommendation is that kids receive the COVID-19 shot two weeks before or after any other vaccines.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs welcomed the vaccine rollout for young children.
“Due to overcrowded housing, lack of clean water supply, inadequate supply of nutrition and the health-care resource crisis for First Nations citizens, there is an overrepresentation of First Nations citizens contracting and having higher rates of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19,” acting grand chief Cornell McLean said in a news release.
“Expanding the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include children aged six months to four years old will help protect our most precious and vulnerable First Nations demographic.”
–With files from The Canadian Press
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