Public Health preparing to roll out child vaccinations

Tara Jeffrey

Local health officials say they’ll be ready when Canada authorizes COVID-19 vaccine use for children age five to 11.

“Lambton Public Health is currently developing a strategy to immunize this age group,” said Kevin Churchill, manager of family health for Lambton Public Health.

“As vaccination for this age group is not currently approved in Canada or Ontario, we don’t know what the time frame will be, but we anticipate it could be later this fall.

“We will follow provincial guidance when it becomes available, and also plan to work closely with our partners including school boards, parents, primary care providers and others as we develop and implement a plan.”

Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced their submission of data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from the phase 2/3 of their COVID-19 vaccine in children age five to 11. A formal submission to request emergency authorization is expected in the coming weeks.

Pfizer also said last week it had submitted initial trial data to Health Canada with the aim of filing a formal submission by mid-October.

Meanwhile, Lambton County continues to see rising case counts with active cases approaching 100 on Friday. Nearly one-third of those reported were from Walpole Island, where 28 active cases and two outbreaks were reported.

The health unit’s Kelly Francis told The Journal that many of those cases are linked to social gatherings, and individuals who are not fully vaccinated.

“Most local exposures recorded in the past month are from intentional social gatherings,” she said, pointing to weddings and other events.

“It is also important to note the majority of our local cases are in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals, and the close contacts associated with those cases continue to be high.

“For the week of September 12 to 18, Lambton Public Health identified 64 new cases and 324 new contacts.”

Kelly added the majority of current active cases are in people under the age of 40, and 35% were age 19 and under.