All Manitoba children six months and older will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine starting Friday morning, the province said in a news release.
Previously, only aboriginal children and those with certain health conditions were eligible for vaccination.
Parents and carers can start making appointments for newly eligible children at 9 a.m. Children must be at least six months old at the time of their appointment, according to the statement.
Health Canada approved the two-dose Moderna vaccine for children aged six months to four years in July.
Manitoba has received 14,900 doses so far, the statement said. More than 3,700 of these were shipped to regional vaccination sites and medical clinics and another 2,100 to First Nations medical leaders for distribution in their communities.
The vaccine supply remains limited, but a second shipment of 28,800 doses of the Moderna vaccine is expected to arrive soon. This shipment has been delayed and will be the last Manitoba will receive, according to the release.
There are about 76,700 children in Manitoba in the under-five age group, provincial chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said last month.
Since the vaccine requires two shots, the province said it would set aside about half of its supply to ensure there was enough for second doses and provide the best protection against COVID-19 for children. of the age group.
Health Canada is also considering a vaccine for Pfizer’s age group. If approved, more vaccines will be available in the fall, the province said.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends children aged six months to four years get the COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks before or after any other vaccine to better monitor side effects, the province said.
Manitoba’s approach is the same, although children who received a different vaccine within 14 days of their COVID-19 vaccine appointment will not be turned away, the statement said.
Parents and caregivers can book appointments directly with medical clinics, through the online vaccine locator, or through the toll-free vaccine call center at 1-844-626-8222. Injections are currently available at regional vaccination centers, public health offices and medical clinics.
People who need to make more than one appointment at the same time should use the phone line, the province said.
Because most immunization data is not reported in real time, limited information is available on the number of doses given to children in this age group.
More up-to-date information on vaccinating Manitoba’s youngest children will be provided as it becomes available, the province said.