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B.C. school children may be able to get COVID vaccines as early as November: Dr. Henry

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Two children have been hospitalized recently in the Interior Health region with COVID-19.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed that fact during a press conference last week, but would provide no further details other than to say that they have been discharged.

But, in a response to a question from, she provided an update on where the world is at in terms of vaccines for children.

Right now, COVID vaccines are only available for people 12 years and older.

“There is a potential that we will have, at least, one vaccine available for people younger than 12, maybe by the end of this calendar year – if we’re lucky, maybe into November,” Dr. Henry said.

Pfizer is leading the way with the testing and will likely have its vaccine available sooner.

The drug companies don’t have to repeat all the randomized trials that were required before their vaccines were approved for adults, she said. They just need to show that they are effective for children and they need to determine what dosage is best.

Testing is being done on two different age groups, children aged six to 10 and those aged six months to six years.

Dr. Henry expects the results of the tests for the older children will be out by the end of September or early October.

Pfizer will then have to seek licencing approval and will likely do that simultaneously in Canada, the U.S. and U.K., she said.

It will take longer to get vaccines for those aged six months to six years.

There have been 8,618 children under the age of 10 diagnosed with COVID in B.C. since the start of the pandemic. That’s as of July 31, the most recent data available on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s website.

That’s six per cent of the total cases and is up from four per cent recorded as of mid-December, 2020.

Children in that age group make up nine-percent of the province’s population.

Of those cases, 95 children have been hospitalized with seven requiring treatment in intensive care units. Two have died.

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