Now that children as young as 12 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, Canada may need to re-estimate its timeline for when everyone will have access to doses.
The original immunization forecast only included adults 18 and over, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said at a press conference Thursday.
Adding adolescents age 12 to 16 into the mix means there are now 1.63 million people who will be eligible for immunization this year.
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The existing target is to get everyone who wants to be vaccinated their first dose by June, and to have most Canadians fully vaccinated by the end of September. Neither Njoo nor colleague Major General Dany Fortin could say with certainty whether Canada is still on track to meet those targets.
“It would be cautious to continue to say adults and now adolescents will be able to be vaccinated by September,” Major General Dany Fortin said. “But we think we are going to meet those objectives.”
Alberta announced it’s opening up eligibility to people as young as 12 next week, and other provinces may follow soon.
The country is set to receive more shipments of vaccine this month than ever before, with Njoo characterizing the coming month as a “big lift.”
One million Moderna doses arrived ahead of schedule on Wednesday, and by the end of May, Canada will have received 25 million total Pfizer doses. Njoo also announced the country will receive 655,000 more AstraZeneca doses in the coming weeks.