Health Canada says the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now safe to give to children ages 12 and up.
The federal health agency has announced it has approved administering the vaccine to children ages 12 to 15, after initially authorizing it for use in individuals 16 years of age and older.
“After completing a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence, the department determined that this vaccine is safe and effective when used in this younger age group,” said Health Canada’s chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma.
Health Canada has authorized those 12 years of age and older to be given the same dose regimen as adults. The authorization was based on the results of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Phase 3 clinical trial involving 2,260 adolescents aged 12 to 15.
Conducted in the United States, the trial found the vaccine to be 100 per cent effective in children aged 12 to 15, up from the 95 per cent efficacy shown after the second shot in the trials with older age groups.
“While younger people are less likely to experience serious cases of COVID-19, having access to a safe and effective vaccine will help control the disease’s spread to their family and friends, some of whom may be at higher risk of complications. It will also support the return to a more normal life for our children who have had such a hard time over the past year,” Sharma said.