Canada could see vaccines approved for children ages five and older later 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 that would soon be ready to provide new information to regulators, in accordance with the New York Times.
In a public update that also included new advice on third doses of the vaccine for some adults, Dr. Howard Njoo, the country’s deputy director of public health, told reporters Friday that the government expected to see that data in the coming months.
“If all goes well, I would say certainly later towards the end of this year, that’s maybe to be optimistic, but we certainly anticipate that something will come along, certainly for maybe next year,” he said.
Pfizer and Moderna are conducting trials evaluating COVID-19 vaccines in children. Any vaccine for young children in Canada should be approved by the country’s regulator, Health Canada.
“If safety and immunogenicity are confirmed, we plan to submit the data to Health Canada before the end of the year to support a possible authorization in children 5 to 11 years of age, and shortly after 6 months to 5 years,” said Christina . Antoniou, a Pfizer spokesperson.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Director of Public Health, also announced new guide of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization on the administration of a third dose of vaccine to immunosuppressed persons.
Tam said there is some evidence to suggest that for those who are moderately or severely immunosuppressed, and who were not adequately protected from a first and second dose, a third dose could be beneficial, if eligible.
the recommendations of NACI, published online Friday, state immunosuppressed individuals who have not yet received vaccines “must be immunized with a primary series of three doses of a licensed mRNA vaccine.”
For those considered moderately to severely immunosuppressed who have already received a full series of one or two doses, an additional dose of the mRNA vaccine is recommended, the NACI statement said.
A viral vector vaccine, such as the AstraZeneca vaccine, should only be considered for a third dose or an additional dose if mRNA vaccines, such as those from Moderna or Pfizer, are not available, NACI added. There is a lack of evidence around the use of a viral vector vaccine for an additional dose in this population, he added.
“The third additional dose being considered for moderately to severely immunosuppressed individuals should be distinguished from that of a booster dose,” the statement said.
“The intent of a booster dose is to restore protection that may have waned over time in people who responded adequately to an initial series of one- or two-dose primary vaccines.”