Well being Canada permitted a COVID-19 vaccine booster for kids on Friday that targets newer variants of the coronavirus, together with the unique pressure.
The Pfizer-BioNTech “bivalent” shot protects in opposition to probably the most prevalent subvariants of Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5, and is the primary permitted to be used in kids ages 5 to 11.
In a press launch, Well being Canada stated that after thorough evaluation it has discovered the vaccine is protected and efficient and that its advantages outweigh any potential dangers when used as a booster dose.
The kid-sized dose is a few third of the dose that’s permitted for folks over the age of 12.
The Nationwide Advisory Committee on Immunization strongly recommends kids with weakened immune techniques or underlying medical situations be supplied a dose of the brand new vaccine a minimum of six months after they obtain their first two COVID-19 pictures.
The advice for different kids in that age group is extra discretionary, and NACI suggests the bivalent booster “could also be” supplied.
For now, youngsters aged 5 to 11 are solely really helpful to get one COVID-19 booster shot, although NACI says an additional booster may very well be thought of on the discretion of household medical doctors for kids who’re at larger danger.
“Right now, it’s not assumed that each baby will want a COVID-19 booster dose however they’re significantly necessary for kids 5 years of age and older with underlying situations that place them at excessive danger of extreme sickness from COVID-19,” Dr. Shelley Deeks, chair of NACI, stated a press release.
She stated the brand new vaccine is most well-liked as a booster for teenagers as a result of it’s anticipated to carry out a minimum of in addition to the unique booster and should have additional advantages in opposition to newer variants.
NACI now additionally recommends that COVID-19 vaccine boosters will be given to kids concurrently different routine vaccines just like the flu shot with out a ready interval in between. Deeks stated in her assertion that she hopes the brand new suggestion will assist kids compensate for pictures they could have missed through the pandemic.
Canada’s chief public well being officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, stated in a press release that the majority kids who catch COVID-19 expertise solely delicate sickness, and the danger of being hospitalized is decrease for vaccinated kids than those that are unvaccinated.
The Omicron wave of the pandemic has seen much more kids contaminated with COVID-19 than earlier waves, given the excessive degree of an infection total, she stated.
No surprising security considerations had been flagged with the brand new vaccine within the 5 to 11 age group.
Pfizer-BioNTech should proceed to supply information from ongoing research and real-world use of the vaccine to Well being Canada to verify the advantages proceed to outweigh any dangers, and to alert the drug regulator to any new security considerations.
Well being Canada and the Public Well being Company of Canada say they’ll maintain a detailed eye on the security of the vaccine in Canada and internationally.