Yellowknife November 23, 2021 – The Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) plans to amend self-isolation requirements for children (aged 5 – 11) in the coming weeks who receive a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The amendment means that during a time period between first and second doses of vaccine, children will not be required to self- isolate upon return from travel to the NWT. This time period starts 14 days after a first dose is administered and ends 8 weeks after a first dose is administered. This means there will be six weeks in which a child can be exempt from self-isolation before they receive their second dose if all other requirements are also met.
Children who have received their first dose of vaccine will require a Day 1 and Day 8 COVID-19 test as part of their exemption from self-isolation, and must also self-isolate if they develop symptoms of COVID-19.
This amendment acknowledges previous research that shows people are protected initially by one dose of vaccine, but two doses are required to prolong the duration of protection. A longer time interval between first and second doses (eight weeks) has also been recommended for children by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. Children will then be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of vaccine.
Amendments are expected to take effect 14 days after the vaccine is first made available to this population in the NWT. The public will be notified when the amended Public Health Order is issued by the CPHO, and an updated Public Health Advisory will be published at that time.
Vaccinating Children in the NWT
COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be highly effective and safe. The vaccine trial in children aged 5 to 11 demonstrates effectiveness and safety in this age group as well.
NWT continues to experience severe impacts from COVID-19. The impacts worsen social inequities among racialized and Indigenous communities, refugees and other newcomers to Canada, persons living in low-income settings, as well as children with disabilities
The vaccination of children 5 – 11 years old is a turning point for NWT’s pandemic response. Implementing a vaccination program for children in this age group will protect children and result in less schooling disruptions, social isolation, and more access to resources that impact mental and physical well-being of children and their families.
The GNWT is currently waiting on its shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine from the Health Canada.
The schedule for vaccinating children between 5 and 11-years old will be made public as soon as first doses are received.
For more information on the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine please see Frequently Asked Questions.
All commentary is attributable to Dr. Kami Kandola, NWT Chief Public Health Officer.
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