Canada could see vaccines approved for children ages five and older as early as the end of this year if the approval process goes well, public health officials said Friday.
The question of when young children would be vaccinated, long on the minds of many parents, was revived this week when one of the founders of BioNTech, the German company that collaborated with Pfizer on its mRNA vaccine, said it would soon be ready to provide new information to regulators, according to the New York Times.
In a public update that also included new advice on third vaccine doses for some adults, Dr. Howard Njoo, the country’s deputy chief public health officer, told reporters Friday the government hoped to see that data in the coming months.
“If everything goes well, I would say certainly later towards the end of this year — that’s maybe being optimistic — but certainly we anticipate that something would be coming forward, certainly for maybe next year,” he said.
Pfizer and Moderna are both running trials evaluating the COVID-19 vaccines in children. Any vaccine for young children in Canada would need to be approved by the country’s regulator, Health Canada.
“If safety and immunogenicity is confirmed, we plan on filing the data to Health Canada before the end of the year to support a potential authorization in children 5 to 11 years of age, and soon after for 6 months to 5 years,” said Christina Antoniou, a spokesperson for Pfizer.
Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer, also announced new guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization around giving a third vaccine dose to immunocompromised people.
Tam said there is some evidence to suggest that for those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised — and who didn’t get adequately protected from a first and second dose — a third dose could be beneficial, if they are eligible.
The recommendations from NACI, posted online Friday, state immunosuppressed people who have not yet received vaccines “should be immunized with a primary series of three doses of an authorized mRNA vaccine.”
For those considered moderately to severely immunocompromised who have already received a complete series of one or two doses, an additional mRNA vaccine dose is recommended, said the statement from NACI.
A viral vector vaccine, such as the AstraZeneca vaccine, should only be considered for a third or additional dose if mRNA vaccines, such as those by Moderna or Pfizer, aren’t available, added NACI. There’s a lack of evidence around using a viral vector vaccine for an additional dose in this population, it added.
“The additional or third dose being considered for moderately to severely immunocompromised persons should be distinguished from that of a booster dose,” noted the statement.
“The intent of a booster dose is to restore protection that may have waned over time in individuals who responded adequately to an initial one- or two-dose primary vaccine series.”
Article From: The Star
Author: Kieran Leavitt