Self-isolation requirements will change for children in the NWT, ages five to 11, once they receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

In a press release, the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) said that children in this age group do not need to be isolated when returning from trips outside the territory if they receive a dose of COVID-19 for a period of time. The isolation release begins 14 days after an initial dose and ends eight weeks after that dose.

“This means that a child can be released from self-isolation for six weeks before receiving their second dose, if all other requirements are met,” the statement said.

The publication also states that these children must be tested on the first and eighth days when they return from travel as part of their release from self-isolation.

They also need to isolate themselves if they develop symptoms, the message says.

“The public will be notified when the revised public health regulation is enacted by the CPHO, and an updated health advisory will be released at that time,” the press release said.

NWT is still waiting for pediatric doses

The OCPHO said the territorial government is still awaiting delivery of the Pfizer BioNTech children’s vaccine, which Health Canada approved for use on Nov. 19.

It said it would announce the schedule for vaccinating children once it received the vaccines and called it “a turning point in the NWT’s pandemic response.”

“[It] will protect children and lead to less school breaks, social isolation and more access to resources that affect the mental and physical well-being of children and their families, “the press release reads.