The Canadian medical regulator Health Canada on Wednesday cleared the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 and older, making the country to first worldwide to start administering the drug to children.
The federal health agency announced the approval for 12-15-years-olds, which will consist of the same dosage all adults receive after successful testing on children since last year.
Some COVID-19 vaccines have been available for anyone age 16 and up, but this is now the youngest age group authorized to receive the shot.
“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,” said Health Canada’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Supriya Sharma.
The approval follows a trial conducted in the U.S. that found the vaccine to be 100% effective within the age group. The trial consisted of 2,260 adolescents involved in the Pfizer-BioNTech’s Phase 3 testing. There were no cases among all volunteers vaccinated.
While the virus is a minimal risk to most children, Pfizer Canada’s vaccine lead Fabien Paquette says the broadened vaccination program will help to protect more people before the start of the next school year.
The Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize the vaccine for children in the U.S., next week according to the Associated Press.