Health Canada approves new Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for age 12 and up

Today Pfizer-BioNTech announced that they have approval from Health Canada to use Comirnaty® to prevent COVID-19 in young people age 12 and over.

After follow-up testing and observation for safety and effectiveness, the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID vaccine was proven to be about ninety-five per cent effective in protecting participants 16 years old and over from the COVID-19 virus.

Effectiveness for young people between the ages of 12 and 15 was one hundred per cent.

These results were seen in clinical trials after the required two doses given 21 days apart, a schedule recommended by Health Canada.

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for use on individuals 16 years old and over when it was first introduced in December of 2020. The following May, Health Canada confirmed that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was “safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 when used in children between 12 and 15 years of age.”

In that statement Health Canada requested further information on the “safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccine in this younger age group to ensure its benefits continue to be demonstrated once it is on the market.”

The Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine joins Moderna Spikevax, another mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, as the only two COVID-19 vaccines that are approved for use in Canada for people age 12 and over. Up to age 17, young people will receive the same two doses as adults over 18 years old.

Millions of young people in Canada between the ages of 12 and 17 have already received COVID-19 vaccinations to control the spread of the virus.

Fully vaccinated young people can still get the virus after being vaccinated, but like adults, they are protected from getting severely ill from COVID-19. They are likely to have only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all if they get COVID-19, 14 days after they receive their second dose.

Further testing is being done in Canada to determine if COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for infants and children under the age of 12 and to see if younger children need smaller doses.

by Cherryl Bird – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Twitter @ladycbird | Instagram @cherrylbird

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