Canada reaches deal to vaccinate kids, as COVID passport approved
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government has reached a deal with the drug maker Pfizer to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine for kids, once it’s approved by Health Canada. Ontario said it’s already working on plan to roll out the vaccine for the 5-11-year-old age group.
Trudeau is asking parents to be patient. He added that Health Canada regulators will take whatever time is necessary to make sure the vaccine is safe and effective.
"It is extremely important that they go through all the processes necessary so that every parent can have confidence when these vaccines do get approved, that they will be safe for their children," Trudeau said.
Trudeau said the deal is to deliver nearly 3 million doses of the vaccine — enough for every child across the country.
In Ontario, the provincial minister of health, Christine Elliott, said a plan is nearly in place to roll out the vaccine in her province.
"By the time the vaccine is approved for use by Health Canada, we will be ready to go," Elliott said. "And I know parents are concerned about this. But they need not be because we will be ready to go. We are actively working on this and putting the final plan together right now."
Pfizer said in the second phase of trials for 5-11-year-olds, the vaccine was found to be safe, well tolerated and effective.
Some health experts said they believe the COVID-19 vaccine for kids could be approved by Christmas. Toronto’s medical officer of health said the city would be ready to administer the vaccine as early as the beginning of November.
The deal comes as Canada approved a standardized proof of vaccination, or vaccine passport. Trudeau said it is currently available to residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon, and will be available in the other provinces soon.
"Canada is also engaging with international partners to obtain recognition and acceptance abroad, so the proof can also be used to facilitate travel around the world," Trudeau said. "This standardized proof will support Canada’s new traveler vaccination requirements that will come into effect on Oct. 30, 2021. Travelers can continue to use their provincial proof of vaccination for domestic or international travel if their province is not yet issuing the standardized proof of vaccination."
WBFO's Marian Hetherly contributed to this story.