Sun | Jun 20, 2021

Canada authorises Pfizer vaccine for age 12 and older

Published:Wednesday | May 5, 2021 | 12:06 PM
In this April 23, 2021 file photo, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking during a news conference in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

TORONTO (AP) — Canadian health officials said Wednesday they have become the first to approve Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for ages as young as 12.

Dr Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, confirmed the decision for ages 12 to 15 and said it will help children return to a normal life.

Canada is the first country to authorise Pfizer for that age group.

The US and the European Union are also reviewing it.

The vaccine was previously authorised for anyone 16 or older.

The US Food and Drug Administration is also expected to authorise Pfizer's vaccine for young people by next week, setting up shots for many before the beginning of the next school year.

The announcement comes barely a month after the company found that its shot, which is already authorised for those age 16 and older, also provided protection for the younger group.

Pfizer in late March released preliminary results from a vaccine study of 2,260 US volunteers ages 12 to 15 showing there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared with 18 among those given dummy shots.

Sharma said the evidence is there that the vaccine is safe and effective in that age group.

It is the first vaccine approved for children in Canada.

Sharma said about one-fifth of all cases of COVID-19 in Canada have occurred in children and teenagers, and having a vaccine for them is a critical part of Canada's plan.

She said while most kids don't experience serious illness from COVID-19, a vaccine also helps protect their friends and family who may be at higher risk of complications.

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