Young British Columbians between 12 and 17 will be able to attend COVID-19 vaccination clinics for their jabs with already-booked parents and guardians even if they have not registered.
But B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urged youths to register ahead of time.
“It helps if you register but that’s not required,” she said during a Thursday briefing in which she outlined the province’s plans for vaccinating the first cohort of children.
Henry said that if a parent or guardian arrives at a vaccination centre for their booked inoculation, they should inform officials at the clinic “to make sure that we are able to get you through efficiently.”
Clinics will be setting up special streams at these clinics for those who arrive with their children looking to get vaccinated.
Children 12-17 can register on their own for a vaccine booking or else get their parent or guardian to do so. They do not need parental consent to get a vaccination.
“If a youth, young person comes in by themselves [health workers will] make sure that they understand the implications,” Henry said.
Those who arrive at clinics should come with identification as well as their personal health number.
Young British Columbians 12 to 17 years old have been eligible to register to book a COVID-19 vaccination since Wednesday.
Henry said that while some schools might serve as a staging ground for vaccinations, the vast majority of jabs for this age cohort will take place at already existing vaccination centres.
“We consulted with Public Health, with our youth groups and families, and we found that the most effective way for us to be immunized is for families to go together and to do it through our clinics that we have established around the province,” she said.
Health Canada approved the use of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine for all children 12-15 on May 5.
The Pfizer vaccine has been permitted for children 16 years and up since December 2020.
Studies examined by the regulator showed the vaccine was 100% successful at preventing COVID-19 after a second dose.
The research included participation from 2,000 children ages 12-15 and results were compared to the responses from young Canadians ages 16-25.
Among the 1,000 children who did not receive the vaccine, 18 developed cases of COVID-19. None of the 1,000 children who received the vaccine developed COVID-19.
The Pfizer vaccine is the most widely used one throughout the country and the first of Canada’s four approved vaccines to get the nod for children 12-15 years old.
Henry said she expects word soon on whether the Moderna Inc. will be approved for use for Canadians 12-17.
To date, 2,548,400 British Columbians — or 58% of the eligible adult population of 4.3 million people — have received at least one dose, while 138,960 have received two doses.
Meanwhile, B.C. Premier John Horgan also confirmed that the province’s current circuit-breaker measures, which have restricted everything from indoor dining to religious services, will be lifted on Tuesday following the long weekend.
“It’s not going to be a light switch, it’s going to be a dimmer switch,” Henry said.