Ontario plans to start vaccinating older children against COVID-19 in June

Government will work with public health units and boards of education to begin inoculating children 12 to 17 years old

A teenage boy receiving a vaccination. (Stock photo)

Ontario plans to begin administering first doses of COVID-19 vaccine this June to children and youth 12 to 17 years of age, according to an update from Ontario health officials on Wednesday morning (May 12).

Health minister Christine Elliott confirmed the province’s plans at a media briefing at Queen’s Park on Wednesday afternoon.

“We are actively working on the vaccine rollout plan for 12 to 16 [sic] year olds with the Ministry of Education and working with our public health units as well,” Elliott said. “This is extremely important — we want to make sure our young people can receive the doses as soon as possible.”

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Elliott said more information will be provided after details are worked out.

According to provincial health officials, planning will consider Indigenous schools, private schools, and students with special needs, and the vaccine could be administered at existing clinics or through “dedicated delivery channels, if needed”.

In response to a reporter’s question, Elliott said the vaccine will not be compulsory for children.

On May 5, Health Canada authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in children 12 to 15 years old — the first COVID-19 vaccine in Canada approved for use in children.

Over 50 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over — over six million adults — have so far received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with more than one million doses administered in Ontario since the start of May.

The province projects to have administered first doses to 65 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over by the end of May.