REGINA -- Saskatchewan’s decision to offer the Pfizer vaccine to children as young as 12 years old came just hours after Health Canada declared the vaccine safe and effective for children Wednesday morning.

The federal health agency said the Pfizer vaccine can now be used in children 12 to 15 years old. It was previously only authorized for people age 16 and older.

“Saskatchewan people can expect that we’ll be heading that direction to move our age for Pfizer vaccination down to 12 years of age. Obviously that will take some parental consent, like every other vaccination,” said Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe.

Details of the vaccination plan for children will be announced Thursday.

Moe said because public health already offers a vaccination program in schools, it is familiar with what needs to be done.

NDP leader Ryan Meili is a proponent of vaccines, including those for children.

“Very exciting that we are now going to be able to offer the vaccine to younger people. We know with the new variants we are seeing more young people affected,” said Meili.

The rollout of second vaccines for adults will be announced at the same time as the children’s plan. Health officials believe residents with their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can expect their second dose in June.

The province also said people who received AstraZeneca for their first shot will be able to receive the same shot for their second dose, despite an anticipated shortage.

“The next AstraZeneca shipment that we do receive will go directly to second doses, much of that likely centred in Regina as those first 15,000 or 16,000 came through the drive-thru here,” said Moe.

Saskatchewan will likely finish with the first dose of vaccines before starting with the second. By the middle of June, the province should also know if it’s safe to mix vaccines should there be brand shortages.