CANADA, (May 07, 2021).- Canadian authorities approved this Wednesday, May 05, the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 for adolescents aged 12 years and older, becoming the first country to authorize it for such young people.
“This is the first vaccine licensed in Canada for the prevention of COVID-19 in children and teenagers, and it marks a significant milestone in Canada’s fight against the pandemic,” said at a conference on press the Health Canada Chief Medical Advisor, Supriya Sharma.
“Data from a clinical trial in the United States involving more than 2,000 young people who received two doses showed that it is as safe for adolescents as it is for adults”, the official said. The vaccine was licensed in December for use in Canadians 16 years of age and older. The United States is expected to license the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use in children ages 12 to 15 next week.
There were no COVID-19 cases among the vaccinated children. In adults, it has been shown to be at least 95% effective in preventing infections.
“Other manufacturers of the four licensed vaccines in Canada (in addition to Pfizer-BioNTech, the others are AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna) are conducting or preparing their own studies in children up to six months of age,” Sharma said. Health Canada will expedite reviews of those results.
Since the start of the pandemic, about 20% of all COVID-19 cases in Canada have been in people under the age of 19. As of Wednesday, May 05, nearly 1.25 million people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in this country. More than 24,000 have died from COVID-19 in Canada.
While younger people are less likely to have severe COVID illness, “having access to a safe and effective vaccine will help control the spread of the disease to family and friends, some of whom may be at increased risk for complications, ” Sharma said.
“It will also help return to a more normal life for our children, who have had such a hard time over the past year,” she said.