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Manitobans aged 12 to 17 now eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

WINNIPEG (CityNews) – It’s a sense of relief for Manitoba parents whose kids are 12 to 17.

The age group is one that is now eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

“We were very excited,” said parent Elizabeth Dyer.

For parents whose kids have underlying conditions, like diabetes, that sigh of relief is even deeper.

“That was the biggest concern for our family, thinking that if Myles had to be in the hospital, how would I manage his blood sugars away from him?” asked Dyer.

Dyer also booked an appointment for her 12-year-old on Friday as her family, like so many, look to get back to normal.

Tens of thousands like Dyer also rushed to book their children for a vaccine as it became available for the age group.

“Your instinct was to get your kid in as soon as possible but the underlying result of that is I was happy to see that there was so many people ahead of me that meant that everyone sort of feels the same,” explained Andra Whitfield.

For those who don’t feel the same, the province has set up a system where teens without guardian permission can go to a vaccine site. They’ll use the mature-minor concept already used for other medical treatments.

“The medical lead will assess the young person’s ability to consent on their own and make a decision about whether or not they have the understanding of the risks, the benefits, the alternatives, and then decide whether or not to proceed with the vaccine for that young person,” explained Dr. Joss Reimer, Medical Lead with the vaccine implementation task force, before assuring teens Pfizer is safe for them.

She said opening up vaccinations to this group also helps get the province closer to its herd immunity goal.