Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Angela Drainville says the Yukon government’s May 12 announcement that the Pfizer vaccine will soon be available to youth between the ages of 12 and 17 is good news for her 15 and 17-year-old sons.

“I’m anxious to get them back to (a sense of) normality,” she said in an interview shortly after the announcement that the territory had secured enough doses to vaccinate all 2,631 eligible youth in the territory.

Of the 2,632 youth, approximately 2,100 live in Whitehorse.

Like many in the age group, one of her sons has a summer job working in customer service at a museum. She had some worries that he wouldn’t be vaccinated while greeting those visiting the museum, particularly if borders opened up.

One of her sons also has epilepsy and Drainville said she doesn’t want to “invite more challenges into his life” and is happy he can now get the vaccine.

Given that her sons are getting older she said she doesn’t feel like getting the vaccine is a decision she will be making for them, particularly the 17-year-old, but she is confident they will opt to get the vaccine, given conversations she’s observed them have with friends.

“They’re a pretty pro-science bunch,” she said.

Happy to see 12 to 17-year-olds included in the territory’s vaccination plans, she said she’s looking forward to when the vaccination program for youth will be rolled out across the territory.

“It’s fantastic,” she said.

It was noted in the May 12 announcement that eligible youth are expected to have the opportunity to receive the vaccine before the 2022 school year begins, and likely by mid-July.

Vaccine clinics will happen in communities, though medical travel to Whitehorse will also be supported for youth who aren’t able to attend the clinic in their community.

“As we have seen elsewhere, new variants are affecting young people more than before,” the territory’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Brendan Hanley said in a statement. “COVID-19 can also result in long-term effects, even in young and otherwise healthy people. Vaccinating our young people will help keep them safe while helping to protect our whole community. I urge all youth and parents to take advantage of this opportunity to get vaccinated.”

Pfizer is currently the only vaccine to have approval from Health Canada for youth. Hanley said it’s anticipated Moderna, which is the vaccine the Yukon received for adults, will be approved for those 12 and over later this summer.

“Pfizer has become easier to handle with subsequent regulatory applications and approvals,” he said. “It has become more similar in handling requirements to Moderna.”

Officials said more details on the Pfizer vaccine rollout for 12- to 17-year-olds will be released in the coming weeks.

As of May 13, the territory’s vaccination rate for those 18 and older who are eligible for the vaccine show a total of 26,778 receiving the first does of the Moderna vaccine with 23,492 receiving their second dose. There’s one active COVID case in the Yukon.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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