Moderna has announced that the first COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years old has been approved. It’s called Moderna Spikevax.
“Many parents have been waiting to hear this great news,” says SHA COVID-19 Vaccine Lead and SHA ED Primary Care Sheila Anderson.
Vaccinations have been available for children 5 years and older since November of 2021.
Deputy Medical Health Officer Dr. Julie Kryzanowsk says vaccinating the youngest population in Saskatchewan will lower the risk of children having long-lasting effects from having the virus.
“Fortunately, the majority of children with COVID-19 have mild or asymptomatic disease but some children, even though previously healthy, can get severe disease and require hospitalization. In addition, children who have had COVID-19 disease are at risk of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children or Mis-C and post-COVID conditions and vaccination does protect against these serious outcomes,” she says.
Saskatchewan is set to receive a limited number of 13,000 doses in the first shipment on Thursday.
“The vaccine will be offered to children of all ages from 6 months to 5 years with a priority given in this age group to children who are moderately or severely immunocompromised,” says Anderson.
As of 8:45 am on Thursday parents and guardians with eligible immunocompromised children will be able to book appointments by calling 1-833-Sask-VAX (1-833-727-5829) only.
However, if there are other children in this age group within the same household as the immunocompromised child, vaccinations can be booked for all children within the home at the same time.
Then, as of 8:45 am on Friday parents and guardians of all children in this age group can call and book vaccination appointments. An online booking option will also open at 8 am that morning.
Anderson said that there are roughly 50 clinics in select locations that will be open and offering this vaccine starting on Friday, July 22nd but she didn’t specify where these clinics will be. These clinics will run in a blended system by both appointment and walk-in schedules. They’ll also have vaccines on-hand for all age groups.
Anderson also believes that vaccines for this age group will be in high demand, “If we look at the uptake of our vaccine in our 5 years to 12-year-old group, it’s just over 40 per cent. So, this age group (6 months to 5 years) is about 70,000 people. So, if we thought about the same uptake percentage at around 40 per cent, we’re looking at around 35,000 doses of vaccine that we will need for the same uptake rate as the older children... We have been notified that we will receive a second (round) of vaccines for this age group in August. However, that date has not been determined yet.”
Parents or guardians must be present at a child's vaccination appointment to give consent. A parent or guardian is able to send a close relative with the child if they're unable to attend but the relative must bring a consent form signed by the parent. A consent form can be downloaded and filled out here.