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Health Unit awaiting approval of COVID-19 shots for kids under 5

'We are planning for the fall but we don't have any confirmation yet as to which vaccine will be available for those younger than five'
2021 07 05 Vaccination Vaccine Health Unit (Campaigne) 1
Dr. Jim Chirico says the Health Unit is preparing for the expected approval of a COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to children under the age of five.

Dr. Jim Chirico says the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit awaits additional information on the COVID-19 immunization strategy for the youngest age group of children.

"We are planning for the fall but we don't have any confirmation yet as to which vaccine will be available for those younger than five," added Chirico.

On June 17, U.S. regulators authorized the first COVID-19 shots for infants and preschoolers — by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech — set to be administered imminently.

See related: Canada expected to finish review of first COVID-19 shot for youngest kids in weeks

In Canada, at present, the vaccinations are available to eligible recipients aged five and up but a decision should come within weeks on approval of Canada's first COVID-19 vaccine for the only remaining ineligible cohort due to age. There are nearly two million children under five in Canada.

Meanwhile, the rest of the eligible population can expect a new round of COVID-19 boosters this fall.

According to a Canadian Press report, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore says preparations for a fall COVID-19 strategy are well underway, including vaccinations, and officials are going through various scenarios such as an aggressive flu season and new COVID variants.

The local Medical Officer of Health gave his monthly report Wednesday during the virtual Board of Health meeting.

"The general direction, as far as COVID-19 goes, is downward in all of the indices. We continue with vaccinations, although they are certainly minimal, at present," Chirico tells the board. 

"People are just learning to live with it," he adds, and "most cases are very mild or they may feel pretty rotten for a short time. There is always the possibility of long COVID but for the most part, people will recover in one to two weeks."

Chirico acknowledges there is still "significant transmission of COVID-19 and I'm pretty sure that everyone in the room knows somebody that had COVID-19. 

"The vaccines weren't great for stopping transmission, especially with everything being open and people carrying on as normal, but what it's really been effective at is keeping people out of hospital, keeping them out of the ICU, and reducing deaths."

The Health Unit reports 44 deaths in the district due to COVID-19 and 239 people hospitalized since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

In the district, 60.94 per cent of residents 18 and older have received three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. For ages five and up, 83.63 per cent have received two doses and 86.86 per cent have been administered at least one dose, meaning 13.14 per cent of all North Bay–Parry Sound residents aged five and over are unvaccinated.

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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