Starting Wednesday at 8 a.m., parents and guardians of kids aged five to 11 will be able to book an appointment for their child to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The first appointments will be on Friday, the health minister added.
Premier Jason Kenney made the announcement during a news conference, adding Alberta’s first supply of pediatric COVID-19 vaccines arrived in the province Tuesday morning.
“The teams at Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health are working to get (the vaccines) distributed to more than 120 locations across the province over the next couple of days,” the premier said.
In a tweet on Monday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said parents can pre-register for their appointment online to avoid potential backlogs; however, Health Minister Jason Copping said as of Tuesday afternoon, 43,000 registrations were in the system already and that if possible to wait until Wednesday at 8 a.m. to avoid flooding the 8-1-1 line.
Children who live on First Nations and Reserves can also access doses through local public health clinics and nurses’ stations on reserves.
“These young children, just like adults, will require two doses to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” Copping said.
“Current data suggest that the strongest immune response is achieved when doses are given at least eight weeks apart.”
Copping added there will likely be an initial rush for kids to get immunized, but AHS should be able to accommodate the number of vaccines already booked within a two-week period.
Interactive game helps kids understand vaccinations
Alberta Health Services has unveiled a new online tool parents can use to help their kids understand COVID-19 and how vaccines work.
Dubbed COVID-zilla, the game is designed to help kids feel comfortable about getting immunized, along with helping them understand the importance of getting the vaccine — all while encouraging kids to continue to wear a mask, physically distance and wash their hands to protect themselves and their loved ones.
The game lets the child choose between two characters along with letting them enter a preferred nickname. Once the challenge is complete, a certificate and colouring sheet can be printed out.
The kid-friendly webpage also includes videos with advice from pediatric specialists to help answer questions children might have, as well as some that parents might ask.
Tuesday’s COVID-19 numbers
Over the past 24 hours, Alberta Health reported 253 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed out of more than 5,300 tests.
Currently, there are 475 people in hospital with COVID-19 which is up by 12 from the weekend. The amount of people in the ICU is 94 which is down by four since Monday’s update.
Ten COVID-19-related deaths were reported to Alberta Health which includes a child under the age of two.
“I’m saddened to share that this includes the death of a child under two years of age where COVID-19 was a contributing cause,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.
“While I will note that this child had complex pre-existing medical conditions that played a significant role, this does not diminish the tragic loss of one so young.”
There are 5,001 active COVID-19 cases in the province as of Tuesday’s update.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 3,227 Albertans with COVID-19 have died.
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