Masks will be mandatory for those five years old and up when visiting indoor public spaces, while health officials prepare for COVID-19 vaccinations getting approval for use in children.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said pre-registration for vaccine appointments for children five and older can be booked now.

“That preliminary data package has been submitted to Health Canada, and we may see that important vaccine available to us as soon as early November,” said Henry. “We continue to talk with school communities, families and parents to ensure the process is as seamless as possible for everyone.”

Once the vaccines are approved and B.C. health officials know when supplies will be available, appointment notifications will be sent out to those who are eligible, the same way as it has been for older people.

Henry said the logistics of distributing vaccines to children across B.C. is still in the planning phase, but it will likely not be rolled out by age group, the way it was with adult residents.

“There are about 340,000 children between five and 11 across British Columbia, so yes, we’ll be highlighting communities where transmission risk is highest,” explained Henry. “We’re trying to do a broad-based approach across the province to make sure access is there for everybody when the vaccine becomes available.”

That said, Henry added that the shots will probably not be available at doctor’s offices, at least not right away.

Dr. Henry has also ordered the expansion of the province’s mask mandates to include children.

“I’m adjusting our public mask mandate and requiring it for everyone five years of age and older to wear a mask in indoor public spaces,” said Henry. “For youth, whether taking the school bus or the city bus, the rules are the same.”

More: B.C. vaccination registration (B.C. Government)