Health Canada and Public Health Canada said Friday that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is now approved for use in adolescents.
“After a comprehensive and independent scientific review of the evidence, Health Canada has determined that the vaccine is safe and effective in preventing #Covid19 in young adults aged 12-17,” the agencies said in a social media post.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for Canadians in that age group previously, in early May.
Since then, Health Canada estimates that as of August 14, nearly 76 percent of Canadians aged 12 to 17 have received at least one dose of this vaccine, with 58.5 percent fully vaccinated. Some counties have allowed children to be vaccinated in their twelfth year but who have not yet reached their birthday.
The full vaccination rate in the age group was actually higher than the rate of 18 to 29 (57.9 percent), as provinces and regional public health units tried to persuade young people to get vaccinated.
Health Canada earlier this summer added labels to its Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines advising rare, usually mild reports of myocarditis, pericarditis, and cases of carditis. The infection was mostly in males under the age of 30, but experts said COVID-19 is statistically more likely to lead to these types of infections than any vaccine.
Health officials around the world are closely watching any evidence of waning vaccine efficacy in the face of the dominant variants of the coronavirus in Delta, with One Mayo Clinic study earlier this month, suggesting that Moderna’s doses may be slightly more effective at preventing serious illness in Delta cases.
Both Pfizer and Moderna are conducting trials to test the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in children under 12 years old. Pfizer said it expects to send its test data to US regulators in September.
While Canada and the United States haven’t necessarily moved in a firm move in terms of green-lighting COVID-19 vaccines, a senior official from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Washington said last week that any vaccine approval for the youngest children could be a few months away.
“I have to be honest, I don’t see acceptance of 5- to 11-year-olds before the end of 2021,” Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said in an interview with NPR.
The White House coronavirus task force heralded Friday the fact that 50 percent of those aged 12 to 17 in the United States have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, just below Canada’s pace even though the school year It has already started for many American schoolchildren.
Due to concerns about Delta and the fact that children under 12 are not eligible for vaccination, several Canadian provinces or school districts have decided in recent days to make mask wearing in class mandatory for the youngest schoolchildren to begin in September.