Dr. Joss Reimer is asking parents to refrain from making a decision on the COVID-19 vaccine for young children until they have been able to review the trial's data.
On Monday morning, Pfizer sent out a press release about a trial looking at 4,500 vaccinated youth aged five to 11, saying they saw positive results in the second and third phases.
"The safety profile and immunogenicity data in children aged five to 11 years vaccinated at a lower dose are consistent with those we have observed with our vaccine in other older populations at a higher dose," CEO and co-founder of BioNTech Dr. Ugur Sahin says in the release.
Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of Manitoba's vaccine task force, reiterates that this vaccine is not yet approved for these children in Canada but they are planning for the possibility.
"They have not shared any details of their data with the public nor with Health Canada. So at this time, we don't even know the extent of how well it protects, what number of side effects they saw, so I think we are very early in the planning," Reimer says in a Monday afternoon press conference.
While many households will be discussing this, Riemer is asking parents to hold off in the meantime on making a decision.
"Wait to make that decision until we have had the chance to review the data and see what really are the risks and the benefits for that age group compared to other ages."
Reimer says what she has seen so far is promising, but needs to see the trial's data.
Pfizer has not yet requested approval from Health Canada, which would be required for these ages to receive the vaccine, but that is not stopping Public Health from starting planning. How they will administer this vaccine, if approved, is being discussed. Manitoba's task force is planning with the assumption the vaccine will be approved.
"We want to be ready in the case that it does get approved by Health Canada and schools is absolutely one of the things we are looking at. As we get to the younger kids it can get to be a bit more challenging to offer the immunizations in schools so we are trying to work through some of the logistics of how we might be able to have parents present, for example."
Dr. Brent Roussin says the province will share how many COVID-19 exposures were in schools since the first day back on Tuesday.
"We have seen in the past that many of these cases are acquired not from within the school, so school continues to be a relatively safe place," Roussin says.