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Moderna asks Health Canada to approve COVID-19 vaccine for kids 12-17

Pfizer only COVID-19 vaccine approved for adolescents in Canada
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Dr. Bonnie Henry has previously said she expected the Moderna vaccine to be approved for use for children 12 and up “very soon.”

Add Moderna Inc. to the list of potential COVID-19 vaccines being administered to Canada’s youths.

The biotech company is asking regulators to approve the use of its vaccine for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17.

“No significant safety concerns have been identified to date. The majority of adverse events were mild or moderate in severity. The most common solicited local adverse event was injection site pain,” the company said in a Monday release, adding it also intends to seek approval from U.S. and European regulators.

So far the Pfizer Inc. product is the only vaccine approved for youths.

But reports emerged last month that some B.C. youths had been mistakenly given jabs with the Moderna vaccine despite the fact it has not been approved for those age groups.

“We don’t believe this is an error that will cause any clinical harm to people,” B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said May 31.

“That does not excuse the fact that it should not have happened and that the immunizers certainly need to disclose, which I understand they did, to the parents and to the young people who received the vaccine.” 

She said health officials have implemented more processes to make sure the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not mixed up at clinics.

Henry said at the time she expected the Moderna vaccine to be approved for use for children 12 and up “very soon.”

If the Moderna product is approved for adolescents, it would ease the process of administering second doses to those children who were mistakenly given the vaccine before regulators signed off.

“As much as we can, we will try to make sure everybody gets the same product for their second dose,” Henry said last month.

Last week the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its recommendations on mixing and matching vaccines, saying Canadians who received the AstraZeneca plc vaccine for their first dose can consider getting jabbed with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for their second dose.

Canada is facing supply issues with AstraZeneca, which is a viral vector vaccine, while messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna have made up a far more significant portion of the country’s supply.

“Persons who received a first dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) should be offered the same mRNA vaccine for their second dose,” NACI said in its recommendations.

If the same mRNA vaccine is not readily available, another mRNA vaccine can be considered interchangeable, according to NACI.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Réka Gustafson, the deputy provincial health officer, are scheduled to provide an update on COVID-19 cases and the vaccination rollout Monday at 3 p.m.

torton@biv.com

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