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Opinion: Vaccine for kids under 12 by Halloween? Research shows it could happen. Now, Canada needs to plan for an equitable rollout

TORONTO STAR

By Tara Kiran, Noah Ivers, Sabina Vohra-Miller

We all want the pandemic to be over. Last week, that dream came closer to reality.

Pfizer released a statement showing an effective and safe vaccine in children aged 5 to 11. Pfizer will soon submit the full data package to Health Canada and If the data is considered sufficient, and no concerns are identified, the vaccine could be approved for this age group as early as Halloween.

A COVID-19 vaccine for children is a game-changer. It not only protects our kids from getting COVID-19 and its related complications, it also protects their loved ones and the wider community. It will limit transmission of the virus—preventing classes from being sent home, allowing a return to sports and other activities, and reduces the risk of unknowingly passing the virus on to someone more vulnerable like a grandparent.

But the vaccine only works if people get it.

We must work quickly to get the largest number of kids vaccinated as fast as possible—and ensure an equitable roll-out prioritizing those most at-risk. The most efficient and effective way to do so is by bringing vaccines to schools.

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