50% of Toronto kids aged 5 to 11 vaccinated against COVID-19

WATCH: Vaccination rates stall for Canadian kids aged five to 11

The City of Toronto passed a milestone on Sunday, reporting that 50 per cent of children between the ages of five and 11 have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

In a press release issued Jan. 16, the city said more than 102,000 children are now “helping protect their families, schools and communities against COVID-19 and the highly transmissible Omicron variant.”

The news comes a day before students and teachers across Ontario are scheduled to return to classrooms for in-person learning.

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In a statement, Toronto Mayor John Tory said in just 51 days since the pediatric vaccine rollout began, the city has helped to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to 50 per cent of Toronto children.

“Now, more than 100,000 five- to 11-year-olds are heading back to in-person learning with greater protection against COVID-19,” he said. “These kids truly are public health superheroes, helping keep their classmates, teachers and families safe.”

Tory thanked parents and caregivers, and added that staff will “continue to work tirelessly to help families stay safe and get this vital vaccine to our city’s kids.”

According to the release, two city-run clinics are also being held on Sunday to offer COVID-19 vaccines “specifically to education workers.”

“The City has worked directly with school boards to fill the dedicated appointments at clinics, ensuring vaccines are reaching this important group,” the release reads.

What’s more, the city said it is also supporting a vaccine clinic on Sunday being held by the Jamaican Canadian Association from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the Jamaican Canadian Centre in North York.

According to the release, the clinic will be administering first, second and third doses, and pediatric COVID-19 vaccines.

The clinic, focused on vaccinating people from Toronto’s Black, African and Caribbean communities, will feature live music and also offer blood pressure and blood glucose testing,” the release said.

The city said walk-ins are welcome, and no health card is required.

Ontario numbers

The latest data released by the Ontario government on Sunday suggests to date, 536,013, or 49.7 per cent of children aged five to 11 across the province have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

However, only 71,471 or 6.6 per cent of children in that age group have received two shots.

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Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Ontario’s top doctor Kieran Moore said he would “love to see a higher uptake of the vaccine” among younger children.

He pointed to the United States, saying the pediatric vaccine has shown “significant protection against the rare risk of hospitalization in children and use of the intensive care unit.”

“It’s almost a 20-to-1 ratio, just like we’re seeing in adults,” he said. “Relative risk is much higher in unvaccinated children compared to vaccinated children.”

Moore said he expects to see the same benefit among vaccinated children in Ontario.

Last week, the provincial government announced it would be launching school-based vaccine clinics in a bid to “further encourage voluntary vaccination for children aged five to 11.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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