The Yukon is expected to receive its first doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 in the first week of December, said acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. André Corriveau during a press conference on Nov. 24.
“The day has finally arrived. I know many parents and guardians, those youngsters, are very, very happy to see this and very relieved, especially as we get closer and closer to the holiday season. It marks another milestone,” said Premier Sandy Silver.
“Everyone that steps up to take their shots is helping to protect their territory, so thank you very much,” he said.
The vaccine dose for younger people was approved by Health Canada on Nov. 19. Clinical trials showed that the vaccine is almost 91 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19 for the targeted age group.
The vaccine has been modified for the age group, including a smaller dosage in a smaller needle, and it can now stay at normal refrigeration temperatures for longer. It will remain a two-dose rollout, with eight weeks in between doses.
The federal government is expecting 2.9 million doses to arrive in Canada by the end of the week. Yukon’s shipment is expected at the end of the week.
“So I understand that parents will want to give careful consideration to all the available information before deciding to get their child vaccinated. While COVID-19 infection in children is often quite milder than what we see in adults, some kids do get severe lung infections, and we have seen unusual complications from getting infected. Immunization will protect from severe symptoms and sickness,” said Corriveau.
Some parents in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario have already been able pre-register their children for doses expected to begin at the end of this week. Silver said online bookings will be available in the Yukon at the end of the week at yukon.ca/this-is-our-shot.
Corriveau said children experience the same mild side effects as adults who received the shot, including some localized pain, fatigue, headache, possible chills, mild fever, reduced appetite and joint pain for one or two days after the shot.
The majority, he said, will have no side effects at all.
Corriveau said there are 121 active cases and active cases are decreasing along with new cases. There have been four additional hospitalizations and one medivac since Nov. 16.
“We’re seeing this week is the beginning of what we hope will be a continuing and increasing downward slope in the daily case count, which tracks really well with the model that we were using,” he said.
“The impact of the circuit breaker at the stage is that it did interrupt the exponential increases last week,” he said, adding that such actions usually take around 10 to 14 days to impact case counts.
Community spread in Whitehorse is still occurring, he noted.
The Yukon Vaccination Verifier app has been approved by Apple and Google and is now available to download through those app stores. You must have an internet connection to download the app but not to operate it.
The software allows businesses to verify vaccine status by reading the QR code on official vaccine verification documents.
Silver noted that no data is stored on the app. He said some businesses are struggling with the new requirements, but urged Yukoners to be respectful.
“Please understand that with a local business person when they’re asking for vaccinations, or wanting you to wear your mask. They’re doing that because of the requirements. We’re happy to see that most people are being extremely respectful,” he said. “These are temporary measures to prevent the continued spread of COVID-19.”
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