Alberta Health said details of its rollout plan for COVID-19 vaccines for those under the age of five will be released “in the next few days.”
Two weeks ago, on July 14, Health Canada approved Moderna’s Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine for children aged six months to five years. It’s the first approved vaccine against the coronavirus for the nearly two-million kids in that age range in the country.
At the time, Alberta Health said it anticipated it would be vaccinating the kids in the eligible age range by the end of this month.
On Thursday, the province said it is “currently working on the rollout of the expansion of access to Moderna Spikevax for children ages six months to five years old. We anticipate the announcements of next steps in the next few days.”
Other provinces in Canada have already started administering the shot, or are booking appointments for kids under five.
Some Alberta parents have been anxiously waiting for the vaccine to be available to their young ones and say they’re frustrated to hear there’s still no firm date.
“Even at this point, they can’t tell us when they’re going to announce it. That’s infuriating,” Gregg Beever said Thursday. “To have them kick the can down the road even more, it’s beyond me that it’s happening.
“Every other age cohort has had pretty quick rollout,” he said. “We’ve know this was coming for two months now since it was approved by the FDA in the United States. We knew it was going to happen. So what is the hang up?”
Beever said his family is a little bit more at risk for COVID-19 due to family history. He’s been calling and emailing the health minister’s office, trying to get information, to no avail.
“We are desperate to vaccinate our child and make sure she is safe,” he said. “Just get it done.
“This is an absolute joke.”
The Alberta NDP also thinks the province needs to prioritize this rollout.
“Alberta families deserve to have the same access to COVID-19 vaccines as every other province. However, as of today, Alberta is the only province in Canada where parents cannot book appointments for children under five years old. This is simply unacceptable,” education critic Sarah Hoffman said in a statement.
Children’s services critic Rakhi Pancholi called on the health minister to “show up and do his job.”
“Alberta’s NDP is calling on the UCP government to keep its promise and open booking for these vaccines immediately,” Pancholi said in a statement.
“By providing vaccines for children under five years old, parents can better protect their own kids and others, especially in child-care settings. The UCP needs to stop dragging their heels and start stepping up. There is no excuse for being so far behind the rest of Canada.”
Data released Wednesday by the province shows the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 has increased by 90 over the previous week.
Genetic sequencing from PCR tests and wastewater monitoring shows the BA.5 variant has become dominant in Alberta.
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