The Quebec government will outline its plan to get children age five to 11 vaccinated today.
Premier François Legault said he and Health Minister Christian Dubé will hold a news conference at 5 p.m., but appointments are already available to be booked on the Clic-Santé website.
Parents can reserve a spot for their children for as early as Wednesday. Siblings can be booked together in a single time-slot, and parents can check a box to signal if their child is nervous about the process.
Canada received its first doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children Sunday evening. The shots, developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, are meant for kids aged five to 11. Each dose is about a third of the size of the adult version of the vaccine.
Some 700,000 children in Quebec are eligible to be vaccinated.
According to data from Quebec’s public health research institute, the INSPQ, about 35,000 children between the ages of five and 11 have caught COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
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However, they account for only a small part of hospitalizations in the province. The INSPQ said only 35 children in that age group have been hospitalized, and none died as a result of COVID-19.
Quebec’s immunization committee said it still recommends children get the shot, citing the “significant psychosocial consequences” for the children and their families, such as school closures, absenteeism and mental health problems.
It also wrote that getting children vaccinated before the holiday break could have a population-wide benefit, since it would reduce the effects of gatherings and would contribute to herd immunity.
Dubé had previously said the goal is for every eligible child to have their first dose by the holidays. He also said the province will look into vaccinating in schools in addition to vaccination centres.
The committee also recommended waiting at least eight weeks before the first and second dose for this age group.
CBC News has confirmed that vaccination centres in Montreal and Quebec City are preparing by reorganizing their spaces and redecorating to make the process less intimidating to young children.
The minister also said he hopes the vaccination rate is as successful as it is for 12- to 17-year-olds. According to the latest provincial data, 95 per cent of people in that age group have received two vaccine doses — the highest rate of any age group.
The press conference will be livestreamed here and on the CBC Montreal Facebook page.