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Canada the first to authorize the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for ages 12 to 15 as confusion on 'preferred vaccine' spreads

·2 min read

Canada is now the first country to authorize the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15.

This is the first vaccine approved for use in children in Canada after the data showed that anitbody levels are comparable to young adults.

In the study of 2,260 adolescents the ages of 12 and 15, efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 100 per cent.

Pfizer also has an ongoing clinical trial for children even younger, which may be submitted to Health Canada as soon as September.

Questions around preferred vaccines

At a press conference on Wednesday Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser with Health Canada, commented on ongoing questions around mRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, being "preferred vaccines."

Dr. Sharma stressed that the decision to get vaccinated is "deeply personal." She said it is difficult compare the vaccines authorized in Canada based on effectiveness but all of the four approved vaccines in Canada are effective at preventing severe illness and death.

"We also know that for the viral vector vaccines, so far AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, that there is this extremely rare risk of these clotting events," Dr. Sharma said. "I don’t want to minimize those, they are real, but we have to put that in context."

"Those are rare and we can diagnose those conditions and we can treat them."

She added that context is very important as well, meaning the number of COVID-19 incidence in ones community or region of the country.

"We actually have to look not only at the risks and benefits of vaccination but the risks and benefits of not being vaccinated," Dr. Sharma said. "If you have the choice in front of you and you’ve got two vaccines, absolutely there may be an advantage to choosing an mRNA vaccine because of the avoidance of this rare risk, but in a lot of cases, you may not have that ability."

"If your life is in danger and you need to call 911 to get help, to save your life, it does not matter if that call is made on an iPhone or a Samsung or even a flip phone. It does what it is supposed to do."