Canada on Wednesday approved the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Coronavirus vaccine for ages 12 and up, becoming the first country to authorize it for people so young.
“This is the first vaccine licensed in Canada for the prevention of COVID-19 in children and marks a significant milestone in Canada’s fight against the Pandemic,” Supriya Sharma, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser, told in a news conference.
In addition, “we are the first in the world to license Pfizer for ages 12 to 15”, she declared.Stating that Britain and the European Union are expected to make the same decision after reviewing the same test results submitted by the manufacturer.
In the US
The United States should authorize the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use in children ages 12-15 next week.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.
There were no cases of COVID-19 among the vaccinated children. In adults, it has been shown to be at least 95% effective in preventing infections.The vaccine was licensed in December for use in Canadians 16 years of age and older.
Other manufacturers of the four vaccines licensed in Canada (in addition to Pfizer-BioNTech, 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.
Return to a normal life
Since the beginning of the Pandemic, around 20% of COVID-19 cases in Canada have been in people under 19 years of age.As of past Wednesday, about 1.25 million people have been diagnosed with Coronavirus in this country. At least 24,000 have died.
About 13 million people, 35% of the Canadian population, have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far.While younger people are less likely to suffer from serious COVID-related illness, “having access to a safe and effective vaccine will help control the spread of the disease to family and friends. Some of them may have a higher risk of complications,”Sharma said.
The authorization for the vaccine to this age group “will also contribute to the return to a more normal life for our children, who have had such a bad time during the past year,” she added.
Sharma clarified that the recommendation of the Canadian health authorities is that people administer the anticovid vaccine that is offered to them first. These statements come as a result of a government advisory panel creating confusion this week by classifying vaccines based on safety.
“Each vaccine will have its advantages and disadvantages. The goal is to vaccinate as many people as soon as possible,”she said.Rare serious thrombi occurred in a handful of cases among the millions who received the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
This week two new deaths were known in the provinces of Alberta and New Brunswick. This brings the total thrombus deaths in Canada related to the AstraZeneca vaccine to three.Canadian officials have said the risk of dying from COVID-19 is significantly greater than the chance of experiencing fatal complications from the vaccine.