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Alberta now vaccinating children under 5 against COVID-19

Children and babies in Alberta are now eligible to receive a dose of the Moderna Spikevax vaccine.

"I'm excited that we are able to finally book our pandemic baby's vaccine, we've been waiting a long time for the opportunity," said Tiffany Baluducci, a mom to an 11-month-old baby girl who is booked for her vaccine appointment on Sunday.

Health Canada approved Moderna's vaccine for infants and pre-schoolers in mid-July.

Alberta is the last jurisdiction in the country to open up vaccine eligibility to the age group, making the announcement on Friday.

"I have family in the states that were eligible sooner. Their zero to five age group opened up a month or two before ours did. We've been waiting," said Balducci, who is originally from Michigan.

The province says this the under-five vaccine has been available in the United States since June 18.


Health Minister Jason Copping tweeted the first day of vaccine uptake province wide, saying 3,614 appointments have been booked as of Tuesday morning.

Of those, 1,000 appointments were made for Tuesday, while the others are for future times.

There are 234,000 Albertans in this age group that are now eligible for the shot.


The recommended dose for children ages six months to 11 years is a series of two doses, with an interval of at least two months between each shot.

The doses given to young children are only about a quarter of the amount administered to adults.

For those immunocompromised, three doses can be administered, with an interval of four to eight weeks between each vaccine appointment. Children on First Nations can access doses at nursing stations or public health clinics on-reserve.

Vaccine advocates say community protection in this age category is critical, especially as fall activities like daycare and indoor play settings increase transmission of illnesses.

"While we often don't see a severe outcomes we have, we do see that the stats show that a number of unvaccinated children have still been admitted for COVID-19 across North America. And so if I can protect my child under five as a new mom, I'm definitely going to be doing that," said Therese Tang, mom of two children in the affected age group and co-founder of "19 to zero."

Vax Hunter AB, a social media group critical of Alberta's handling of the public health programs pertaining to the pandemic is also encouraging Albertans to bring their small children forward for the vaccine.

"The important thing to remember, especially with these little kids under five, is that they have higher rates of hospitalization than the five to 11 age group. They are at risk more than the older kids," said Sarah Borchiellini, Vax Hunter AB.

She then added, "the vaccine helps prevent death and serious other complications that could come from COVID."

Health Canada says it will continue to keep a close eye on the vaccine's safety, and Moderna is required to provide updated data on the vaccine's effectiveness and safety.

There is still little information about the risk of rare reactions like myocarditis, but no cases were identified during the trials. Instead, the most common responses were similar to the ones children experience for other pediatric vaccines, including pain at the site of the injection, sleepiness and loss of appetite.

All Canadian provinces have begun booking vaccine appointments for young children.

First-dose appointments must be booked through the Alberta Vaccine Booking System or by calling Health Link at 811.

With files from CTV News Edmonton and The Canadian Press Top Stories

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