Health Canada gave the green light Thursday to Moderna's Spikevax vaccine for very young children, a first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's what you need to know.
What age group does the authorization cover?
Authorization targets children between six months and five years old against COVID-19 “The clinical trial showed that the immune response to the Spikevax vaccine in children between six months and five years old was comparable to that observed in people aged 18 at age 25 in a previous study,” Health Canada said Thursday.
Although children this age are generally less likely to experience severe complications from COVID-19, “some d “between them can still be very sick,” explained Dr. Diane Lamarre, professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Montreal. She adds that long COVID also exists in toddlers.
How many doses are allowed?
Health Canada recommends a primary series of two doses. Children in this new age group will be able to be vaccinated with doses of 25 micrograms each. “This is equivalent to half the authorized dose for children aged 6 to 11 and a quarter of the authorized dose for people over 12 years old,” it explains.
The Committee National Advisory on Immunization (NACI) recommends three starting doses for immunocompromised children.
How long between doses?
The federal ministry suggests a period of four weeks between the administration of the two doses. This position differs from the recommendations of the NACI, which instead proposes a delay of eight weeks between the two doses, but four weeks for immunocompromised children.
The final choice will however rest with the Government of Quebec, which prefers based on the recommendations of the Comité sur l'immunisation du Québec (CIQ).
When will vaccinations be given?
Canada already has a certain number of doses of this vaccine, and should soon distribute them to the provinces. As to whether there should be a vaccination campaign at the start of the school year, Dr. Lamarre believes that this will depend on the pandemic situation at that time.
The fact that the vaccine has proven its effectiveness this year, when the Omicron variant was predominant, is definitely a plus, even if the subvariants continue to gain ground, continued the expert.