OTTAWA – Health Canada has approved the Pfizer BioNTech Comirnaty®COVID vaccine for children 5-11 years old.
The agency posted its approval earlier this morning (November 19). The two-dose vaccine is one-third the size of the adult dose and found to be 90.7 per cent effective according to the clinical trial.
While the drug manufacturer said that the two doses of vaccine should be given at least 21 days apart, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunizations recommended “at least eight weeks” between doses citing better immune response and a lower risk of Myocarditis.
Possible side effects from the vaccine are similar to that of the adult dose and include redness, soreness or swelling where the vaccine is injected. Common side effects include flu-like symptoms including chills, fatigue, headache, a mild fever, muscle aches, and joint pain.
Pfizer filed for approval of the children’s vaccine early in October. Drug-maker Moderna has filed a similar application for a child-sized dose of its COVID-19 vaccine as well.
The approval paves the way for children in this age group to receive a first dose of the vaccine before Christmas.
In Ontario, each of the 34 public health units will be responsible for their own delivery plans for vaccines.
When asked about the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s plan, medical officer of health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis told The Leader Thursday that, “Everything is ready, pending approval.” The EOHU will release its vaccination strategy on November 22.
Local numbers update
Around the EOHU, COVID-19 infections have been stable with some new clusters of cases including in South Dundas.
As of November 18, there were 69 active COVID-19 infections in the region and for the first time in over a month no one is in Intensive Care. There is one person hospitalized.
The region added 17 new cases between Wednesday and Thursday, 10 of which are from the northern portion of Akwesasne. Two cases were added to Prescott-Russell, three in Cornwall, and two in SDG Counties. Those two additional cases are in South Dundas, which now has six active cases.
The Upper Canada District School Board sent notification that one or more people at Iroquois Public School has tested positive for the virus.
North Dundas has no active COVID-19 infections, South Stormont five, two in North Stormont, and 20 in Cornwall.
The EOHU reports that 91.8 per cent of the region age 12 and older (167,980 people) have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The two-dose vaccination level is 88.5 per cent (161,902 people). Nearly 4,900 third-dose booster shots have been given.