In another step forward in the COVID-19 pandemic, the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for five-to-11-year-olds will be announced by Health Canada on Friday, according to multiple sources who were not authorized to speak publicly.
A delivery of about three million doses is expected in the coming days, enough for a first dose for every eligible Canadian child. An exact timeline is hard to discern, but public officials have said that needles could go into arms before the end of the month.
The news, while expected, will come as a relief to parents of children in that age range. While children under the age of 12 are at a lower risk from COVID-19, they can still spread the disease, and while serious outcomes are rare, that may not matter to their parents.
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, told an Ottawa radio station Wednesday the interval between the two doses will be eight weeks, matching the recommendation for adults, instead of the American recommendation of three weeks.
But the American trials indicated that even a first dose provoked a strong immune response in children: a 91.4 per cent efficacy against infection over a period of months with children who were back in school, and other congregate settings, such as sports and after-school activities.
The move did not come as quickly as some parents would have liked, but Canada will be among the first few nations on the planet to approve this edition of the Pfizer vaccine. The Pfizer data was submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Sept. 28, and the FDA approved the vaccine Oct. 29. The data was submitted to Health Canada on Oct. 18, and Friday, official approval will come almost a month later.