Nearly 50 percent of Northwest Territories teens are partially vaccinated against Covid-19, newly published data from the territorial government suggests.
Vaccinations for the 12 to 17 age group began on May 6, a day after Health Canada authorized the Pfizer vaccine for use in children aged 12 and up.
In just over a month, 49 percent of the territory’s teens have received their first of two doses, the GNWT’s online dashboard reports. Two percent of the same age group are now fully vaccinated.
Dr Kami Kandola, the NWT’s chief public health officer, this week said she expects Pfizer will in late summer release results of its clinical trial on children aged six months to 11 years. After that, Health Canada will need to review the data before it approves the vaccine for use in younger children.
“Once that’s approved, we’re hoping that we can now target vaccination for the unvaccinated population under age 12,” Dr Kandola said.
Young adults still only 50-percent vaccinated
The 12 to 17 age group’s first-dose vaccination rate has nearly caught that of the NWT’s young adults.
Just 52 percent of 18 to 19-year-olds, 51 percent of 20 to 24-year-olds, and 54 percent of 25 to 29-year-olds have their first dose in the NWT.
“That turns out to be a difficult group to reach,” said health minister Julie Green at a news conference on Wednesday.
“We understand convenience is a major driver for that age group, and that’s one of the reasons we’ve been offering pop-up clinics in Yellowknife. They’re looking at plans to do that in other hub communities, as well, so we can get over the convenience barrier.
“Should we stand in the lineup at the Woodyard?” Green asked, referencing the popular Yellowknife pub. “I think we’re open to any of the possibilities to bring the vaccine to people so we can increase their uptake.”
Green suggested misinformation online and a feeling of invincibility may be fuelling younger generations’ vaccine hesitancy. She encouraged young adults to “look for scientifically solid sources of information.”
Another round of vaccine clinics is being scheduled in the NWT’s smaller communities to reach teens and adults who need their first or second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.