Children as young as five could be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as next month, according to Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer.
Henry said parents can register their children for a vaccine appointment the same way millions of British Columbians registered themselves or a loved one for an appointment earlier this year.
“We have heard that at least the preliminary data package has been submitted to Health Canada and we may have that important vaccine available to us as early as early November,” she said during the province’s weekly COVID-19 briefing.
She added vaccine eligibility will not be age-based, as often families have more than one child. There are about 340,000 children in the 5–11 age range in B.C., according to Henry.
Henry also announced children five and older will now be required to wear a mask in all indoor public settings. All B.C. students have been wearing masks in indoor school settings since Oct. 4.
“I continue to be amazed at the adaptability and the resiliency of children across this province,” Henry said. “Many of them have told me that they know how to wear a mask now and that it’s something they do to keep themselves safe, to keep their families safe and I just want to say thank you.”
Adrian Dix, minster of health, also provided an update on the dire COVID-19 situation in northern B.C.
Fifty-five critical patients have been transferred from the north to hospitals in the Island Health, Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions, according to Dix. Of those, 43 are in hospital for COVID-19 and 42 are not fully vaccinated.
Island Health reported five new COVID-19-related deaths and 292 more cases today (Oct. 12). There are 550 active cases in the health authority, including 235 in the central Vancouver Island region.
Over the long weekend, 28 more people died of COVID-19 in B.C. — eight were in Interior Health, seven were in Northern Health, five were in Fraser Health and three were in Vancouver Coastal Health, in addition to the deaths in Island Health, according to a media release from the province.
B.C. recorded 2,090 new cases, bringing the active case number to 5,183, including 357 people in hospital, 153 of whom are in critical care.
Over 88 per cent (4,117,400) of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 82.6 per cent (3,830,063) have received their second dose, according to the province.