Public Health is sharing what vaccinating adolescents could look like.
Health Canada has approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 12 and older. Manitoba has yet to officially announce they are vaccinating youth, but are planning for it.
Dr. Joss Reimer, Medical Lead of Manitoba's COVID-19 Immunization Task Force says in a Wednesday press conference she is waiting for the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to approve this change and is being cautious in announcing the possibility.
"Our message remains the same, that we want as many Manitobans as possible to get the vaccine as quickly as possible. We look forward to seeing those numbers rise in our younger cohorts as well," Reimer says.
Health Canada says this vaccine is 100 per cent effective in youth aged 12-15, and 95 per cent in those 16-years-old and older one week after the second dose.
NACI's recommendations have not yet been given.
The province says everyone will be able to book their vaccine appointment by May 21. Parents and guardians will be able to book a vaccination appointment for their youth using their health card, just as people are able to book appointments for other dependents. Supersites will be the main vaccination method for this age group with the possibility of Pfizer doses being brought to schools with Focused Immunization Teams.
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout for youth will be similar to the vaccination plans that schools follow. A letter requesting consent will be sent home for parents and guardians to sign and the teen to bring back.
"In the school-based system we do send consents home to have parents sign them, but we also recognize there are times that someone who is under 18 may choose to seek medical services without parental consent. And so it is the job of the healthcare provider to ensure that they do have that capacity to make that informed decision if their parent is not available to provide that consent along with them."
The doctor says this will follow content processes the province already has regarding parental consent.
They are hoping by June 15 all Manitobans will receive their first dose, including those 12-years-old and older.
"We have used the 70 per cent as an estimate for our goal herd immunity, but we would be overjoyed to get more than that. We would like to get per cent of Manitobans of all eligible ages immunized because the more of us who receive the vaccine the less chance there is that the virus can move in our communities."
Reimer is hopeful young people will have high uptake rates.
"Our goals remain the same, regardless of what age category we are talking about and really, we are going to work hard to get the vaccine into as many arms as we possibly can."
If following the age-based approach, young people will be vaccinated closer to the end of the school year. Reimer says this could change.
Previously, Public Health has said Manitobans aged 10-19 are the highest-growing group of COVID-19 infections, often being spread in multi-household activities such as playdates and sleepovers.