55K pediatric COVID-19 vaccines booked, Alberta’s full supply now here

Alberta’s full procurement of pediatric COVID-19 vaccine has arrived, Health Secretary Jason Copping tweeted Thursday morning.

Supply started arriving Tuesday morning and the first doses will be administered Friday morning.

By 9:00 am on Thursday, just over 55,000 appointments had been booked.

“That’s great,” said Sarah Mackey of Vax Hunters Alberta. “That’s a lot of kids who will get that first dose before the holidays hit.”

Mackey and her team had gotten up early Wednesday to help parents find vaccine appointments and said the day started off a “little bumpy.”

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Parents in Alberta can make an appointment on Wednesday to vaccinate against COVID-19 for children aged 5-11

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There were a few pharmacies on the list of places to book that they knew would not be offering the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine and parents were booking at those pharmacies.

Other than that, Mackey said the day went much more smoothly than when vaccines were opened to everyone 12 years and older in the spring.

The Calgary zone led the province with the most booked appointments with 26,710. The Edmonton zone had 21,206 appointments booked, 2,668 booked in the North zone, 2,468 booked in the South zone and the Central zone had the fewest appointments booked with 1,980.

According to the 2020 census data, this means that about 18 percent of eligible children in the Calgary zone have an appointment, about 17 percent in the Edmonton zone, the southern zone about 8.5 percent, and the northern and central zones between the five and six percent, according to Mackey

“That’s not surprising,” she said. We knew it was going to look like this where it would definitely be concentrated in the cities. Hopefully we will see that number steadily increase.”

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In Alberta, pediatric COVID-19 vaccine doses are administered at Alberta Health Services clinics. Community pharmacies are only used if there is no clinic nearby.

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Mackey hopes the county will move to community pop-ups aimed at outreach in areas with slower uptake, such as in the spring.

“There aren’t that many locations right now and that’s great for reducing waste, but it also makes it harder for people to access,” she said.

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Mackey also encourages parents and guardians to share with other people that their children are booked for their vaccines and to talk about how excited the families are.

“I think a lot of people don’t know or think, ‘Well, we’ll see how it goes.’

“So the more people we can see in our own communities and our own connections getting their kids vaccinated, the more it will normalize for it to happen.”

Children were able to receive the pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine after Health Canada approved it on Nov. 19.

The vaccine requires two doses of 10 micrograms each for children aged five to 11 – a third of the adult dose. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that the two doses be eight weeks apart.

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3:27 Alberta Premier Kenney Announces Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11 Has Arrived in the Province of Alberta Prime Minister Kenney Announces Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11 arrived in the province

Alberta’s health director, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, advises parents to wait two weeks between other vaccines – such as the flu vaccine – and the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This is a precautionary measure,” she said Tuesday. “While we have seen older age groups use other vaccines containing the COVID vaccine, this was safe and effective, but this distance for 5-11 year olds is recommended to allow us to better monitor for potential adverse effects.”

In a statement to Global News, an Alberta Health spokesperson said an update on the recommendation for a two-week gap would come Thursday.

Parents and guardians can make an appointment for their child’s COVID-19 vaccine online or by calling 811.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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