Here's why Canadians under 16 aren't approved for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

Dec 10 2020, 4:37 pm

Canadians under the age of 16 are not authorized to use Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which was approved on Wednesday by Health Canada.

During a press conference, Health Canada’s chief medical advisor said that this age group cannot use the vaccine as there is not enough sufficient data on how Pfizer’s vaccine affects younger people.

“The authorization is for people over the age of 16,” Dr. Supriya Sharma said.

“In the clinical trials, there were some participants that were younger than that, so from the ages of 12 to 15, that were added when that was expanded in terms of the clinical trials, but those numbers were very small.”

Because there isn’t enough data, more research will need to be conducted to determine whether 16-year-olds and younger will be able to use the vaccine.

According to Statistics Canada, there are over six million Canadian citizens under the age of 16.

Canada is still examining three other vaccine candidates, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson, but it’s not yet known if they will cover the younger age demographic.

In Toronto, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa recently said the highest positivity rate of the virus is among the 14 to 17 age group with 11.6%. This means of those that get tested in this age group, 11.6% are coming back with positive tests.

Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use earlier on Wednesday, adding that it granted authorization under Interim Order for the emergency use of their mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2).

Pfizer Canada and BioNTech will supply the Government of Canada a minimum of 20 million doses — and up to 76 million doses — of the vaccine through 2021.

Around 249,000 doses are expected to arrive in December, with the first shipment coming next week.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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