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Ensuring we give the vaccine rollout for children our best shot

By Drs. Sloane Freeman & Ripudaman Minhas

THE TORONTO STAR

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded across the globe, its impact on children has tended to be an afterthought. While the largest burden of death and disease severity was in their grandparents’ generation, children and youth have grappled with severed social ties, mounting communal stress and widespread school closures due to concerns about their role in transmission of the virus.

On Tuesday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children and youth 12 years and up in Canada. This is an exciting step toward safely opening schools and achieving herd immunity. However, as pediatricians, we have big concerns about how the vaccine will be rolled out to children and youth. Optimizing rollout will require us to learn from experiences with the adult vaccination strategies, think about specific pediatric considerations and address important barriers to equitable access.

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