In an email to Global News, Pfizer said it has sent its findings and continues to work with the country’s regulator ahead of a formal submission, which it expects to make by mid-October.
Health Canada said it received the data.
“I can confirm that we received preliminary COVID-19 vaccine data on children aged 5 to 11 from Pfizer this afternoon,” a spokesperson for Health Canada told Global News in an email on Friday.
The development comes after Pfizer, alongside company BioNTech, submitted initial test data for its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 to U.S. regulators on Tuesday.
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Pfizer Sends Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Data to U.S. FDA
As part of its trial, Pfizer and BioNTech said their data showed a strong immune response in 2,268 children aged 5 to 11.
The data showed that the two-shot mRNA vaccine elicited an immune response that matched what was seen in people aged 16 to 25. The companies said they were using a lower dose in children – a third of the amount in each injection currently.
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Canada’s chief medical adviser, Supriya Sharma, told reporters at a press conference on Friday that Health Canada would assess the dose lower while it reviews the data.
“We have a dedicated team that is ready to receive this information and review it as it becomes available,” she said.
“We would only allow if it was shown that the benefits outweigh the risks, especially for this group of individuals of five to 11.”
COVID-19 vaccine effective in children aged 5 to 11, according to Pfizer
Sharma also said Health Canada expects Pfizer to provide them with the initial test data before its official submission, so officials can start working on it immediately. She added that she expects a full submission to arrive by mid-October.
Vaccination against COVID-19 for children aged 5 to 11 will be an important step in the fight against the pandemic, said Dr. Katharine Smart, president of the Canadian Medical Association.
Smart told Global News that not only will children be protected, it will bring Canada closer to collective immunity.
“Children under the age of 12 make up 15% of the Canadian population, so if they are not vaccinated, it creates huge pockets where Delta can spread,” she said.
Health Canada awaits clinical trial data for Pfizer Kids COVID-19 vaccine
In the meantime, protecting school-aged children must remain a priority for governments, she added, in addition to trying to keep them in school.
The best ways to do this include indoor masking, cohorts, better ventilation, and quick testing, Smart said.
“Things like rapid tests are being brought up as another tool to be able to identify early cases so that we don’t have to close entire schools,” she said.
“So that’s another tool we could really think about right now as we wait to roll out vaccination in this younger group. “
–With files from Reuters and The Associated Press
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