Nearly 2 million children between the ages of six months and five years are now eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine
Canada’s drug regulator has approved Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, the first jab to receive authorization for the age group.
The Public Health Agency of Canada announced the decision on Thursday, saying it approved a two-dose vaccine series for children aged six months to five years “after a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence.”
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended smaller doses for children, just one-quarter of the amount approved for adults, citing phase three trial results for the Moderna shot.
The vaccines should be administered about eight weeks apart, especially for those who currently have the virus, though immunocompromised patients could receive doses at an interval of just four weeks, it added.
While the health agency acknowledged “most children” who contract Covid-19 have “no or mild symptoms,” it noted that “some, including previously healthy children, can get very ill and require hospitalization,” suggesting vaccination could avoid such outcomes.
Health Canada cautioned that due to a lack of long-term data for the vaccine, there is currently little information about serious side effects such as myocarditis – a potentially lethal heart condition seen in some older recipients – for the age group. It said it had not seen any severe adverse reactions during Moderna’s trials, however.
The US approved the use of Pfizer and Moderna’s coronavirus shots for the same six-month to five-year-old age group last month, and has since inoculated around 267,000 children as of July 8, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.