All Manitoba kids 6 months and older can get COVID-19 vaccine starting Friday

All kids in Manitoba six months and older will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine starting Friday morning, the province says in a news release.

Previously, only Indigenous kids and those with certain health conditions were eligible to get their shots.

Parents and caregivers can start booking appointments for newly eligible kids at 9 a.m. Children need to be at least six months old at the time of their appointment, the release said.

Health Canada approved the two-dose Moderna vaccine for kids ages six months to four years old in July.

So far, Manitoba has gotten 14,900 doses, the release said. It’s shipped more than 3,700 of them to regional vaccine sites and medical clinics and another 2,100 to First Nations medical leadership to distribute in their communities.

Vaccine supply remains limited, but a second shipment of 28,800 doses of the Moderna shot is expected to arrive soon. That shipment was delayed and will be the last one Manitoba gets, the release said.

There are approximately 76,700 children in Manitoba in the under-five age group, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said last month.

Because the vaccine requires two shots, the province said it will reserve about half its supply to make sure there’s enough for second doses and provide the best protection against COVID-19 for kids in the age group.

Health Canada is also reviewing a vaccine for the age group from Pfizer. If that gets approved, more vaccines would be available in the fall, the province said.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends kids aged six months to four years get a COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks before or after any other vaccines to better monitor for side effects, the province said. 

Manitoba’s approach is the same, although kids who have gotten a different vaccine within 14 days of their COVID-19 vaccine appointment won’t be turned away, the release said.

Parents and caregivers can book appointments directly with medical clinics, through the online vaccine finder or through the toll-free vaccine call centre at 1-844-626-8222. Shots are currently available at regional vaccine sites, public health offices and medical clinics. 

People who need to make more than one appointment at the same time should use the phone line, the province said.

Because most immunization data isn’t reported in real time, limited information is available about how many doses have been given to kids in this age group.

More updated on vaccine uptake among Manitoba’s youngest kids will be provided when more information is available, the province said.

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