Children 12 and older now cleared to receive Pfizer vaccine: Health Canada

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 12 to 15, after initially authorizing it for use in individuals 16 years of age and older.

The two-dose Pfizer vaccine was the first COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized by Health Canada. It was given the regulatory green light in December 2020 and was the first COVID-19 vaccine to be administered in this country. 

Health Canada had been reviewing Pfizer-BioNTech’s submission to expand the use of the vaccine since mid April.

The pharmaceutical giant’s clinical trials have shown that the Pfizer vaccine is effective at preventing COVID-19 in 95 per cent of patients 16 and older, following the second dose. In its trials on 12 to 15-year-olds, it was 100 per cent effective.

The vaccine is an mRNA vaccine, which means it teaches cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response, without using the live virus that causes COVID-19. Once that immune response is triggered, antibodies are produced, which protect people from being infected should the virus enter their system in the future.

After a winter delay as production capacity was increased, the manufacturing giant has been Canada’s most consistent supplier of vaccines. With nearly 11 million doses sent to Canada to date, Pfizer has committed to sending more than two million doses per week, each week, until end of June.

More coming. 

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