Kids vaccine rate still low despite rampant spread of Omicron variant


Published January 24, 2022 at 3:57 pm

OTTAWA — One member of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force says the timing of the Omicron outbreak in Canada may have hurt the uptake of pediatric vaccines, just when kids need them most.

Child-sized doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine were approved for children aged five to 11 on Nov. 19, 2021, and many provinces began injections the following week.

In the two months since then, only 51 per cent of children in that age group have had at least one dose.

Last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned that the vaccine rate among children was too low, and chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam also expressed concerns.

Pediatrician Dr. Jim Kellner, who sits on the COVID-19 Immunity Taskforce, says many governments have focused on improving access to booster doses for adults in the face of Omicron, rather than on promoting vaccines for kids.

He says the highly transmissible Omicron variant has also changed the public’s perception of the threat COVID-19 poses, even though many jurisdictions are seeing more children hospitalized with the virus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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