Eleven-year-olds in Ontario — who will be turning 12 by the end of the year — are now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID vaccine.
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.
Parental consent not always necessary
It’s important to note, says Simcoe Muskoka Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Charles Gardner, they (children aged 12-17) don’t necessarily need parental consent to get a vaccination. “It has been a long-standing practice of public health in keeping with legislation that people who receive immunization need to be mentally competent in order to give their consent. They have to be able to understand what it is that they’re considering receiving, what’s involved, and why it would be recommended, and understand the risks and benefits before accepting it or not accepting it.”
Gardner encourages parents to discuss immunization with their children to be aware of the importance of immunization and to encourage their children to be immunized.
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The 12-17 age group currently has the lowest rate of vaccination of any eligible age bracket in Ontario, with only 56 per cent of youths fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Overall, Dr. Gardner expects that 75 per cent of those eligible in Simcoe-Muskoka will have received a second dose by the end of August.
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