Pfizer BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine will likely be the first to be administered to younger teens, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma said Wednesday.
Since the other vaccines are yet to declare results of their trials on children, Sharma said it is “likely that Pfizer, if all the data is fine, may be the first” vaccine that children would be eligible for in Canada.
Her statement came following the announcement by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE Wednesday that their COVID-19 vaccine was safe and effective and produced powerful antibody responses in 12 to 15-year old kids.
Sharma also said that Canada will review Pfizer BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine data on younger teens “in a couple of weeks.”
“We haven’t seen the data yet. We’ll be getting that in a couple of weeks at Health Canada for review,” she said during a Facebook live event covering COVID-19 concerns.
Before coming to a decision, however, Sharma said that they would use “bridging data” from earlier trials “to make sure that those vaccines are safe, effective and of course, of high quality and can be used in children.”
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Pfizer’s vaccine is already authorized for use in people starting at age 16.
In the new trial of 2,260 adolescents aged 12 to 15, there were 18 cases of COVID-19 in the group that got a placebo shot and none in the group that reveived the vaccine, resulting in 100 per cent efficacy in preventing COVID-19, the companies said in a statement.
The vaccine was found to be well-tolerated, with side effects in line with those seen among those aged 16 to 25 in the adult trial, according to the statement.
Last week, Pfizer gave the first vaccine doses in a series of trials testing the vaccine in younger children, that will in time go to those as young as six months of age.
Pfizer isn’t the only company seeking to lower the age limit for its vaccine. Results also are expected soon from Moderna’s vaccine study in 12 to 17-year-olds.
Last month, AstraZeneca too began a study of its vaccine among six to 17-year-olds in Britain. Johnson & Johnson is planning its own pediatric studies. And in China, Sinovac recently announced it has submitted preliminary data to Chinese regulators showing its vaccine is safe in children as young as three.
–With files from Reuters
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