A number of Ontario health units are getting ready to vaccinate children aged five to 11, anticipating future Health Canada approval of a COVID-19 vaccine for use on children under 12.

Last week, vaccine producer Pfizer said it planned to share data with Health Canada showing the effectiveness of its vaccine on children aged five to 11, with the goal of seeking authorization for use “as early as possible.”

Toronto Public Health has formed a COVID-19 Vaccination Planning group in anticipation of Health Canada’s approval.

“Toronto Public Health has formed this Vaccination Planning Group so that our city will be ready to help children get vaccinated as quickly as possible,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory.

Toronto is also asking the Ontario government to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for students.

The Niagara and Waterloo regions in Ontario also announced Monday they’re preparing campaigns to extend vaccination to kids under 12, when approved.

“Vaccines are our best protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant,” said Chair of Toronto’s Board of Health Joe Cressy. “Toronto Public Health is proactively working hard in preparation for the time when vaccines are approved for children ages 5 to 11. Whenever vaccines are approved for use, Team Toronto will be ready to provide vaccines to our kids quickly, easily, and equitably,” he explained.

There are approximately 200,000 children in Ontario who are presently eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The City of Toronto claims that “receiving two doses of the vaccine will help protect residents from severe illness and outcomes, and protect our young children, friends, families and other loved ones.”

An August report by Public Health Ontario (PHO) revealed that more than half of all people sent to the hospital with vaccine-related heart issues were youth under the age of 25.

Ontario saw 202 admissions to the emergency room from all age groups after receiving a vaccine. 86% of Ontarians over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. When it comes to full vaccination, a total of 71% of people in the province have received their second dose, according to official data.

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