Over 200 11-year-olds with a birthday coming up turned out to get the shot in Simcoe-Muskoka yesterday

SMDHU says 12-17 age group seeing the lowest rate of vaccination in the region.

Hundreds of youngsters turned up at area COVID-19 vaccine clinics after the province expanded access to those who are about to turn twelve.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) confirmed on Thursday that just over 200 11-year-olds turning 12 this year received their first vaccination on Wednesday. This came after the province expanded vaccine access to anyone born in 2009.

Health officials have been closely monitoring data from Alberta and British Columbia where the Pfizer vaccine has been available to youths born in 2009 for several months and with no risks identified.

Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the SMDHU, pointed out this week that children aged 12-17 don’t necessarily need their parents’ consent to get vaccinated.

This age group has among the lowest rate of vaccination in Simcoe-Muskoka; as of Wednesday, just 56.9 per cent of those aged 12-17 have received both shots in this region. Province-wide, 57.6 of those in this age group are fully vaccinated.