Tue. May 17th, 2022

Toronto officials say they are preparing to vaccinate the more than 200,000 eligible children ages five to 11 in the city against COVID-19.

A COVID-19 Vaccination Planning Group has been formed that includes health partners, school boards, community representatives, and the Ontario Ministry of Health.

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Health Canada still needs to approve a COVID-19 vaccine for children in the age group. In Canada, only those 12 years and older are currently eligible.

School staff in Ontario must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or regularly tested for the virus.

The Toronto District School Board ordered the requirement that administrators, staff, and anyone in direct contact with students and staff be fully vaccinated. The deadline to show proof of vaccination is November 1st.

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No such rule is in place for students, but Toronto’s top doctor has asked for it to be changed.

Dr. Eileen de Villa wrote to the city health department this month, asking it to request the province to require COVID-19 vaccination for eligible students based on their age. She was set to present that recommendation to the board at a Monday meeting.

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In his letter of 13 September to the National Board of Health, de Villa referred to the nine other diseases covered by the law on immunization of school children against which students enrolled in school must be vaccinated.

COVID-19 is not currently one of the designated diseases and de Villa wrote that the safety and efficacy of approved vaccines have been proven in children 12 and older.

“Given the current epidemiology of COVID-19 and the need to support the safe reopening of schools, it recommended that the province require COVID-19 vaccination for students eligible based on their age / year of birth,” she wrote.

De Villa spoke at a health board meeting on Monday, saying the case rate for children aged four to 11 has risen to 64 per year. 100,000 up from 57 per. 100,000 last week.

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Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said at an independent news conference Monday that the province will look at “everything” that would help protect people from COVID-19. She highlighted the high vaccination rate among those aged 12 to 17 years.

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COVID-19 vaccine effective for children ages 5 to 11, Pfizer says

On September 20, Pfizer said the vaccine worked for children ages five to 11 and was in the process of getting permission from U.S. officials. The vaccine manufactured by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is available to all 12 and older.

“We continue to do everything we can as a city government to fight COVID-19 and save lives. Toronto Public Health has formed this vaccination planning group so our city will be ready to help children get vaccinated as soon as possible after the necessary approvals from Health Canada, ”Mayor John Tory said in a statement Monday.

“This will help keep our children safe and provide greater protection in our schools and communities throughout the city.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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