EDMONTON—COVID-19 was a contributing cause in the recent death in Alberta of a child who was less than two years old, the province said Tuesday.
The news emerged the same day Alberta officials announced that parents will be able to start booking vaccination appointments for children ages five to 11 this week.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, addressed the death of the young child at a news conference.
“While I will note that this child had complex pre-existing medical conditions that played a significant role, this does not diminish the tragic loss of one so young,” Hinshaw said.
Hinshaw announced said Alberta had identified 253 new COVID-19 cases over 24 hours, along with 10 deaths, including the young child. There are still 475 people being treated in hospital including 94 in intensive care.
Starting Wednesday, residents in Alberta will be able to begin booking appointments for children ages five to 11 to get Pfizer’s child-sized shots. Appointments will begin taking place Friday, the province said. About 394,000 pediatric doses for the province arrived this week.
“This is welcome news for many parents who will log in, I suspect, first thing tomorrow morning to book their kids’ vaccines,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.
People have been able to preregister and there had already been more than 40,000 such preregistrations as of Tuesday.
The premier said parents who have concerns about giving the vaccine to their children should speak to a trusted medical professional.
“Alberta’s government is not imposing any kind of deadline on families … because we don’t want people to feel rushed or pressured,” said Kenney.
“The pandemic has been a trying time for every Albertan, and younger children and their parents are certainly no exception.”
Children five to 11 will not be expected to show proof of vaccination at businesses in Alberta, officials noted.
First and second doses for children should be spaced out over eight weeks, said the province.
Hinshaw said the province’s advisory committee on immunization has also decided to recommend that all Albertans should wait eight weeks between their first and second doses of mRNA vaccine.
“Evidence shows that a longer interval between doses can result in higher vaccine effectiveness that may also last longer,” she said.
After experiencing an overwhelming amount of COVID-19 cases over the summer and early fall, Alberta has seen a decrease in recent weeks.
“This is another milestone day in our fight against COVID 19,” said Hinshaw. “I believe that the expansion of vaccine eligibility to these young children will help us further limit the spread of the virus, which will in turn help prevent Albertans of all ages from experiencing serious outcomes from COVID-19.”
Source: Death of child who was less than two years old linked to COVID-19 in Alberta | The Star