Ontario won’t force COVID vaccine on young children

"I'm going to leave that up to the parent," said Premier Ford

Premier Ford says he understands if parents don’t want to get their young children vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I’m going to leave that up to the parent when it comes to five to 11-year-olds. Do we want to get them vaccinated? Yes. But there are some parents that are vaccinated, they are a little hesitant at the age of five or six. I get it,” Ford said at a news conference in Kanata on Tuesday afternoon.

A recent Angus Reid survey found just 51 per cent of Canadian parents were prepared to have their young ones vaccinated.

Related: Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective in kids ages 5-11

Pfizer-BioNtech has formally requested approval for its pediatric COVID-19 vaccine from Health Canada. The application is under review.

“As with all COVID-19 vaccines, the department will prioritize the review of this submission, while maintaining its high scientific standards for safety, efficacy and quality,” Health Canada said in a statement.

Canada already has a deal with Pfizer for pediatric doses of its vaccine.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott told the legislature Tuesday the province is finalizing its plan for vaccinating children aged young children. Individual health units will be responsible for rolling it out, she said.

feature image: Johnson & Johnson