Health Canada has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalentvaccine for children between five and 11 years of age.
This is the first bivalent COVID-19 booster approved for use in this age group that targets both the original variant of COVID-19 and theBA.4/BA.5 subvariants, Canada said in a statement released Friday.
“After a comprehensive and independent scientific review of the evidence, Health Canada has determined that the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty Omicron BA.4/BA.5 Adapted Bivalent Booster Vaccine for children 5 to 11 years of age is safe and efficacious. and that its benefits outweigh any potential risks,” the agency said.
Health issues: bivalent vaccines and pregnancy
Health Canada previously authorized this bivalent injection in early October for people 12 years and older.
“While the formulation for children 5 to 11 years of age is the same, the dose is one-third of that authorized for people over 12 years of age,” the agency said.
Booster shots are designed to help people maintain their immunity over time. Health Canada notes that evidence continues to show that all COVID-19 mRNA vaccines licensed for use in Canada provide protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
In a statement released Friday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said that COVID-19 cases in Canada increased in the summer months and again in the fall.
“In line with other respiratory viruses, it is possible that the incidence of COVID-19 could increase again in the colder months and new variants of concern (VOCs) may emerge,” NACI said.
According to NACI, the “proportion of Canadian children ages 5 to 11 vaccinated with a primary series is approximately 40 percent; however, only five percent of children in this age group have received at least one booster dose.”
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