VICTORIA, B.C. – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix issued a statement about Health Canada’s approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

The vaccine will be made available to around 360,000 young British Columbians “as soon as possible.”

According to Health Canada, clinical trials showed the vaccine was 90.7 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19 in children five to 11 years of age, and no serious side effects were found.

“British Columbia welcomes the news that Health Canada has approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 pediatric vaccine for children aged five to 11,” reads the statement.

“The rigorous review confirms that this first vaccine formulated for younger children is safe and effective. We also welcome the recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization on use of this new lower-dose vaccine to provide protection to children from five to 11 years of age.”

According to the statement, children are at lower risk of severe disease from COVID-19, but it can still lead to serious outcomes, including hospitalization and long-term symptoms.

“The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on children and families and has led to significant disruptions to important social activities and school. Health Canada’s approval of the vaccine for children is another important step that will help protect children from COVID-19 and help us safely get back to many important activities.”

Parents and guardians can register their children in the Get Vaccinated portal, or they can call 1-833-838-2323. Over 75,000 children have been registered for the vaccine already and are on the list to be contacted for an appointment.

“British Columbia will have enough vaccine for every child aged five to 11, and we will be ready to start welcoming children to clinics throughout the province soon after we receive our supply of pediatric vaccines from the Government of Canada.”

Procurement Minister Filomena Tassi says the first doses will arrive in Canada on Sunday.

Further details about the province’s plan for vaccines for children will be shared next week.