Plan to immunize PEI children with pediatric doses of Pfizer-BioNTech announced; seven new cases of COVID-19
Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, has announced plans to roll out the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine for Prince Edward Island children ages 5 to 11 years.
“It is an exciting day in PEI as we will be receiving Pfizer pediatric doses in the province and begin offering vaccine to Island children under the age of 12 for COVID-19 by the end of the week. Having children vaccinated is a significant development in our fight against COVID-19 and will allow young people to safely resume their favorite activities and events, including spending time with friends and families. I urge all parents and guardians to have their children immunized, which we know is the best way to ensure children are protected against COVID-19.”
- Dr. Heather Morrison
Parents will have a choice to have their child vaccinated at a community clinic or a school-based clinic. Only children with a consent form signed by a parent or legal guardian will be vaccinated. It is important that parents and guardians are supported in whatever decision they make regarding having their children vaccinated.
“The pandemic has been difficult for children – school has been disrupted, extracurricular activities have been impacted; traditional graduations and special ceremonies were different, time with friends has been interrupted and many youth feel lonely and socially isolated; COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the mental and physical well-being of children and families.”
Health PEI community-based clinics for children age 5 to 11 will be offered across PEI in O’Leary, Summerside, Charlottetown, Montague and Souris. The first clinic will be on Friday, November 26 in Summerside and there will be three clinics on Saturday, November 27 in Souris, Summerside and Charlottetown. Appointments can be made by using Skip the Waiting Room or by calling the vaccine booking line at 1-844-975-3303. Health PEI will offer school-based clinics beginning in January, with parents choosing to have their child immunized at a community clinic or at school. A consent signed by a parent or legal guardian is required before a child is immunized.
There will be enough pediatric vaccine for all PEI children ages 5 to 11 years. The dosing interval between first and second doses for children in this age group is at least eight weeks. Children will need to have 14 days before or after any other immunization in order to receive their COVID vaccine. For more information, visit: COVID vaccines for Kids.
Parents and guardians who are undecided on whether or not to have their children vaccinated should speak with their health care provider and seek information from trusted and credible sources such as: the Canadian Pediatric Society, the IWK or Toronto Sick Kids websites, the Public Health Agency of Canada or any provincial/territorial COVID-19 website.
As of Saturday, November 20, 94.3 per cent of eligible Island residents have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and 90.5 per cent are fully vaccinated with two doses.
Dr. Morrison has announced seven new cases of COVID-19 in Prince Edward Island.
None of the new cases are under the age of 19 and the age range varies, with one each in their 80s, 70s, 60s, 50s, 40s and two in their 20s. Six of the individuals, originally tested negative, and are related to previously announced cases. One case is still under investigation.
Prince Edward Island currently has 28 active cases of COVID-19 and has had 356 positive cases since the pandemic began.
The cluster of cases that began in Prince County now includes: 22 cases linked to the cluster; two workplace outbreaks; two sports teams involved; one case at Three Oaks Senior High School; approximately 350 close contacts being followed; over 200 individuals following the Daily Testing for School Contacts Protocol; and 3,424 PCR tests completed since last Wednesday.
“This situation continues to evolve, and I expect there will be more positive cases in the coming days, among close contacts who are currently isolating. It is concerning that transmission appears to happen very quickly and with minimal contact,” said Dr. Morrison. “The good news is we know that vaccination continues to be an important layer of protection that reduces the risk of individuals becoming very sick and having poor outcomes, such as hospitalization.”
As one of the cases related to the cluster was a student at Three Oaks Senior High School, the school was closed yesterday to allow for contact tracing, testing and cleaning of the school. At this point, there is not an outbreak at TOSH as there is no evidence of COVID-19 transmission within the school setting.
Students and staff of TOSH who are close contacts of the positive case and are fully vaccinated, following a negative PCR test, have the option to participate in the Daily Testing for School Contacts Protocol. This requires daily home-based rapid antigen screening test each morning and bringing the negative test to school for verification, and regular lab-based PCR tests. School-based close contacts who are not fully vaccinated are required to isolate for 14 days since the exposure, until December 3, with testing.
Because the exposure risk has been identified as low, beginning tomorrow, November 24, all students who travelled on Bus #762, #568, and #584, who have had at least one negative PCR test, regardless of their vaccine status, can follow the Daily Testing for School Contacts Protocol. Under this protocol, unvaccinated, partially vaccinated and fully vaccinated bus students can attend school and extracurricular activities provided they have a negative rapid antigen test each morning. Parents and guardians of students who travelled on these buses will be contacted today regarding the testing protocol. Test kits can be picked up at Three Oaks Senior High School until 5:00 pm today.
Island residents are reminded to not attend work or public activities if feeling unwell, to get tested if any symptoms of COVID-19 develop (even if they are mild), and to get tested at a Health PEI drop-in testing clinic following travel if you are not tested at points of entry. In addition, get tested again between days 4 and 8. Children under the age of 12 years require a negative test upon entry to PEI before attending school. They should also test two more times, on day 4 and day 8. Unvaccinated children under 12 years of age who return from international travel should isolate and not attend school, camps or activities for 14 days.
As always, all Islanders are urged to get tested if they experience any symptoms of COVID-19, even after a previous negative test, and to self-isolate until the results come back. Islanders are also encouraged to download the free national COVID Alert app, which will let them know if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
For information on PEI’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, including vaccine facts, immunization data and booking an appointment, visit: COVID-19 Vaccines. For answers to commonly asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, visit: Answers to Common COVID-19 Vaccine Questions.
For the latest information about Prince Edward Island’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit: COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Prince Edward Island.
The Chief Public Health Office continues to work closely with the federal government, provincial and territorial counterparts, government departments and Health PEI to monitor the pandemic situation and prepare for all COVID-19 related impacts to the province, including health, social and economic. The public health risk of COVID-19 is continually reassessed, and Islanders will be updated as new information becomes available.
Everyone is encouraged to follow routine prevention measures:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue
- Get vaccinated
- Wear a non-medical mask in indoor places
- Stay home if you are not feeling well
- Limit touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Keep your circle of contacts small
- Physical distance - stay two meters (6 feet) apart
- Don’t share items like drinking glasses and water bottles
- Frequently clean surfaces like taps, doorknobs and countertops
- Visit a drop-in-clinic to be tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms
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