Canada first country to authorise Pfizer vaccine in children aged 12-15
Canada has become the first country to authorise the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged between 12 and 15.
The decision comes after positive phase III results were reported by Pfizer in March for children in that age range.
Canada has already authorised the use of the jab in children aged 16 and over.
The province of Alberta, which has the highest rate of the virus in the country, said it would offer vaccines to those over 12 years old from Monday.
Canada has recorded more than 1.2 million coronavirus cases, with roughly 20% of those being in people under the age of 19. The country’s vaccination rollout has been relatively slow, with delivery delays impeding administration rates.
Supriya Sharma, a senior adviser at the Canadian federal health ministry, said on Wednesday that the Pfizer vaccine was safe and effective in the younger age group, telling reporters: “We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel”.
The FDA and EMA are currently reviewing the authorisation of the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children of younger ages, with decisions expected to be made soon.
In trials conducted by Pfizer into the efficacy and safety of its vaccine in children aged 12 to 15, they reported an efficacy rate of 100% with no unusual side-effects seen.
A total of 2,260 adolescents in the US were studied in the trial, with participants receiving two doses 21 days apart.
A total of 18 cases of COVID-19 were reported, all of which were in the placebo group.
Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are also currently testing their vaccines on those aged between 12 and 18, with Moderna’s data expected soon.
Moderna and Pfizer are also testing their jabs on younger children between six months and 11 years old.
The risk of children becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 is low compared to older age groups, with hospitalisations being very rare.
However, people of younger ages are more likely to have asymptomatic infection, allowing them to transmit the disease to others.
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