#Protectmb Kids Campaign Launches To Immunize Manitoba Children

Press Release

November 25, 2021

Manitoba is beginning to immunize children ages five to 11 against COVID-19 this week and thousands of parents have already booked appointments to protect their younger children during the fourth wave of the pandemic and into the holiday season, Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon announced today.

“It is a cause for celebration to see so many Manitoba families embracing this opportunity to protect their younger children from COVID-19,” said Gordon. “In just a few days, nearly 25,000 appointments have already booked, and we know that thousands more will be making this important decision very soon. Manitoba’s #ProtectMB Kids campaign will help ensure children and families feel informed, welcomed and supported.”

To help mark the launch of the vaccine campaign, six Manitoba children, joined by their family members for support, received their first dose of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine at the RBC Convention Centre super site in Winnipeg. The children received #ProtectMB Kids colouring pages and brightly coloured stickers.

The Pfizer pediatric vaccine was thoroughly tested and approved by Health Canada. All available evidence shows it is highly effective in preventing infections and reducing severity of COVID-19.

“Cases are rising among this age group because they have not been eligible for a vaccine until now,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead, Vaccine Implementation Task Force. “I encourage all parents and guardians of younger children to visit our website, talk with your health-care provider and to use the helpful tips we are making available so that immunization will be a positive experience for your child and a decision the kids can take pride in.”

Although children and youth are less likely than adults to get critically ill from COVID-19, they can still get sick, spread the virus to others at school and in the community,  be infected and not have any symptoms and experience long-term negative health outcomes if they do get infected, Reimer noted.

Health Canada reports the vaccine was 90.7 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19 in children age five to 11 and no serious side effects were identified in clinical trials.

Dr. Jared Bullard is a pediatrician and parent to two children, one of whom will receive the vaccine today, and one who received it after the vaccine was made available to older youth.

“For us, there was really little hesitation,” said Bullard. “We trust science and evidence. My wife and I have discussed with our children how the vaccine is safe and trust the vaccine’s trial and review process. We understand that by getting vaccinated, we can help bring this pandemic closer to an end. We’re grateful to public health and their guidance and efforts to make this vaccine so readily available.”

The pediatric vaccine is one-third of the dosage of the vaccine given to older people. It is being administered as a two-dose series, with eight weeks between doses.

Currently, the vaccine is only available at provincial vaccine clinics, but as the vaccine is distributed across Manitoba, it will soon be available at physicians’ offices, pharmacies, urban Indigenous clinics and pop-up community clinics. Locations will be posted on the province’s online vaccine finder map at https://protectmb.ca.

There are approximately 125,000 children aged five to 11 in Manitoba.

For more information, visit https://protectmb.ca. Resources for children and parents will continue to be updated online with the #ProtectMB Kids campaign, which will be followed by an advertising campaign in early December to help connect parents with information about the vaccine and how to book.

An interactive map of immunization sites is available at https://protectmb.ca/current-immunization-sites/. Parents and caregivers can book their child’s vaccine appointment at many locations online at https://protectmb.ca or through the province’s call centre at 1-844-626-8222 (1-844-MAN-VACC).

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