The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) unveiled its strategy for vaccinating children aged five to 11 against COVID-19 on Monday.
The province is expecting to receive 112,000 pediatric doses, which will be enough to give a first shot to all those aged five to 11 who want the vaccine.
The SHA said pediatric doses will be arriving in the province on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Health Canada approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children on Friday. The vaccine dosage, specifically developed for kids, is one-third the size that has been offered to those 12 and older.
Children will need consent from their parents or guardians before getting the jab. The government said they do not have plans to implement a proof of vaccination requirement for children under 12.
Parents will be able to book appointments online and over the phone for children starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
According to the health authority, appointments can be booked for Wednesday and Thursday in larger centres, which will receive vaccines on Tuesday and Wednesday. Rural and remote clinics will start on Friday.
The province said group appointments for siblings can be made by calling 1-833-Sask-VAX (1-833-727-5829) and single appointments can be made on the province’s online appointment portal.
There will be 221 clinics available in 141 communities across the province, including clinics in more than 110 schools. The shot will also be available at 236 pharmacies in Saskatchewan.
First dose and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, along with COVID-19 boosters and flu shots will also be available for adults at the clinics.
The SHA suggests children wait eight weeks before getting their second dose.
EXPECTED SIDE EFFECTS
Dr. Tania Diener, the SHA medical health officer responsible for immunization said clinical trials have shown minimal side effects in children.
Side effects could include soreness where the shot was given, chills, muscle pain, fatigue and headache, but they shouldn’t last more than a few days.
“From trials, it definitely looked as if it’s less than what adults experience. There were no serious side effects identified, there were no safety signals identified, there were no deaths identified,” said Diener.
Diener acknowledged that some parents may be hesitant to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19, but assured them it’s the right thing to do.
“I truly believe that when parents are hesitant about getting their children immunized, it’s because out of concern. They just want to have the best for their children,” Diener said.
She encouraged parents to speak to a trusted healthcare provider about any concerns they may have.
“Please ask those questions. Don’t sit at home and wonder about things.”