Health Canada on Wednesday approved the administration of Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine for COVID-19 to children ages six months to five years, a first in the country.
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“The clinical study showed that the immune response to the Spikevax vaccine in children aged 6 months to 5 years was comparable to that observed in people aged 18 to 25 years in a previous study,” das said Federal Ministry in a statement Thursday.
Children in this age group can be vaccinated with a primary series of two doses of 25 micrograms four weeks apart.
“This is half the approved dose for children ages 6 to 11 and a quarter of the approved dose for those over 12 years of age,” it said in a statement.
The decision comes in line with recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), an independent panel of experts, which released a document Thursday morning supporting its findings.
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However, NACI has suggested a minimum interval of eight weeks between the administration of the first and second vaccinations for non-immunocompromised children, while Health Canada believes four weeks is sufficient.
“Moderately to severely immunocompromised” children must receive their second dose more quickly, within a four to eight week window of their first.
Note that this is a “discretionary” recommendation as opposed to a “strong recommendation”.
“As usual, Quebec will await the recommendations of the Quebec Committee on Immunization (CIQ) and we will follow their recommendations,” said the office of Quebec Minister of Health Christian Dubé.
The vaccine should not routinely be given on the same day as other vaccines, NACI also recommends.
Health Canada advises that the studies into the efficacy of this vaccine were conducted when the Omicron variant was prevalent in North America.
The United States approved Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for this age group on June 18.
The pharmaceutical company Pfizer has submitted an application for approval to Health Canada. This is still being verified by government scientists.