Health minister expects Pfizer submission for kids’ COVID-19 vaccine in October

TORONTO — Health Minister Patty Hajdu said she expects a submission from Pfizer in the coming weeks for the use of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine in children ages five to 11.

Speaking Tuesday on CTV’s Power Play, Hajdu said government health officials have been in constant contact with Pfizer regarding vaccine data.

“We anticipate that we’ll get a submission, hopefully in the early stages of October,” she said. “As soon as we receive the data from the company, the regulators are well-situated to rapidly review that data.”

The pharmaceutical company stated last week that its vaccine, created in partnership with BioNTech, is effective in children aged five to 11.

Pfizer tested a much lower dose — a third of the amount that’s in each shot given now — in a study involving 2,268 kindergarten and elementary school-aged children. After their second dose, the company said these children developed antibody levels just as high as teenagers and young adults getting the regular-strength shots, Dr. Bill Gruber, a Pfizer senior vice-president, told The Associated Press.

The kid dosage also proved safe, with similar or fewer temporary side effects that teens experience, such as sore arms, fever or achiness, he said.

There are currently no COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in children under 12 years old in Canada.

News of Pfizer’s incoming data may be welcomed by parents of young children who have recently begun the school year with the highly contagious Delta variant spreading in the country.

As of Monday, children five to 11 years old made up approximately 13.5 per cent of the COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario in the last 14 days. In Alberta, children aged five to nine made up about 10 per cent of reported cases in the last week.

Pfizer said Tuesday it has submitted study data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and expects to apply for the emergency authorization of its use for children south of the border in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Moderna is currently studying the efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine in elementary school-aged children. Both Pfizer and Moderna are studying even younger children as well, including those who are six months old. Results are expected later in the year.

With files from The Associated Press 

Correction:

This story has been updated to say health officials are expecting a submission from Pfizer in October, rather than authorization.

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