Raidah Fairooz:-Health Canada made it official by declaring the eligibility of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in children up to 12 years old on May 5, 2021. After a thorough review of the clinical trial data which was submitted by a company based in New York the previous month, the regulators decided that the mRNA shot is safe to be used on children from 12 to 15 years of age.
The Pfizer is the only vaccine that is permitted to be used in the younger age group, other vaccines like Johnson and Johnson, Moderna, and AstraZeneca are still supervised to be used on people over the age of 18. In a U.S based trial, 2,000 youth between the age of 12 to 15 were registered for the Pfizer vaccine, and none of them portrayed any symptomatic reactions prior to the vaccination.
This was a sign of significant protection which allowed the regulators to take such a decision. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser said, that it was critical to get these adolescents vaccinated as soon as possible because out of all the COVID cases reported in Canada, 20 percent of them were related to people under the age of 19. “While younger people are less likely to experience serious cases of COVID-19, having access to a safe and effective vaccine will help to control the disease’s spread to their families and friends — some of whom may be at a higher risk of complications,” Sharma said.
Dr. Zain Chagla, associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., said the 12-15 age group is at “higher risk for transmission” than younger children.
This Monday, NACI, an independent body composed of volunteer experts, said Canadians who are less likely to contract COVID-19 may want to wait until an mRNA shot from Pfizer or Moderna is available because those products don’t carry the same risk of very rare, but serious, blood clots.
Furthermore, Sharma said that there is a rare chance of cultivating vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), after getting the viral vector vaccine but getting COVID 19 could also lead to serious health effects and ultimately death. She said, that the risk of contracting VITT is less than 20 per cent of the people who have got this condition and died.
Lastly, while the people are anticipated to receive their second dose of vaccination, Sharma said Health Canada is going through a clinical trial in the U.K that is combining viral vector shots like Astra Zeneca and mRNA products like Pfizer to come up with a further effective solution to prevent COVID-19. “We’re very anxious to see the results of that which we expect to be coming out in the next month or so,” she said, adding the trial may reveal a better immune response with no increased risk for side effects.