English Health & Medicine

Health Canada approves Pfizer vaccine for kids 12 and up

TORONTO – Canada becomes the first country in the world to have approved the use of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine for ages 12 to 16. This was announced today by Supriya Sharma, Chief Medical Adviser of Health Canada, who pointed out that the documentation provided by Pfizer-BioNTech confirmed that the vaccine is effective and safe for adolescents as well. The study, which passed the third phase of clinical trials in the United States, was carried out on 2,260 adolescents. What surprised the experts was the degree of effectiveness achieved during the experimentation phase. For those over the age of 16, in fact, the vaccine in question had been 95% effective against the risk of Covid-19 infection. For the 12-16 age group, on the other hand, effectiveness has reached 100%.

“While younger people are less likely to experience serious cases of COVID-19, having access to a safe and effective vaccine will help control the disease’s spread to their family and friends, some of whom may be at higher risk of complications. It will also support the return to a more normal life for our children who have had such a hard time over the past year,” Sharma said.

Among the various implications behind yesterday’s decision is that of the school. The use of the vaccine also for the 12 to 16 age group can be the key to returning to class lessons, perhaps in view of the next academic year, when we will have the teaching staff and administrative and non-teaching staff fully immunized.

At the same time, however, there is great uncertainty about how the decision of the regulator of Health Canada will be implemented. For now, virtually nothing changes, as the guidelines and protocols of the vaccination campaign in Canada are provincial competence.

In fact, it will be up to the individual provincial administrations to decide whether and when to include the vaccination of adolescents within the mass immunization campaign, also taking into account the roadmap of vaccine supplies coming in the coming months.

The fact is that the provinces will be able to count on an extra weapon in this difficult third wave of the pandemic.

Safety or almost the age range of the people most at risk – the over-80s and people with serious previous pathologies – the provincial government in recent days has changed gears, carrying out a two-pronged strategy: on the one hand, the age limit has been significantly lowered in order to be able to book their vaccination, on the other hand the supply of doses destined for the hotspots of the province has been significantly increased , the 114 areas of Ontario where the number of contagion and the rate of transmission of Covid-19 are highest.

All this in step with the progressive increase in deliveries of vaccines coming from abroad. Pfizer will send Canada 2 million doses per week throughout may and of these 800,000 are destined for Ontario. In June there will be a further increase in supplies, along with the growth of doses made available by Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson, the other three vaccines that have been approved by Health Canada.

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