Fist COVID-19 vaccine authorized for children 6 months to 5 years of age


 

Fist COVID-19 vaccine authorized for children 6 months to 5 years of age

 

July 15, 2022

Global Korean Post

 

Yesterday, Health Canada authorized the use of the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine in children 6 months to 5 years of age. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized in Canada for use in this age group and marks a milestone in Canada’s response to COVID-19.  As a result of this authorization, approximately 1.7 million children are now eligible for vaccination against COVID-19.

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect our families, communities and ourselves against COVID-19. Evidence indicates that the vaccines used in Canada are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

Health Canada received an application from Moderna to expand the indication of Spikevax on April 29, 2022. Health Canada initially authorized the vaccine for use in people 18 years of age and older on December 23, 2020, and subsequently authorized for children 12 to 17 years of age on August 27, 2021, and children 6 to 11 years of age on March 17, 2022.

After a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence, Health Canada has determined that the benefits of this vaccine for children between 6 months and 5 years of age outweigh the potential risks. Health Canada has authorized a two-dose primary series of 25 micrograms each, with the second dose to be administered 4 weeks after the first dose. This is half the dose authorized for children 6 to 11 years of age and one quarter of the dose authorized for people over 12 years of age.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has carefully reviewed the available evidence on the safety, efficacy and immune response generated by the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the spread and severity of COVID-19 in children under the age of 5. NACI is recommending that a complete two-dose primary series of the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine may be offered to children aged 6 months to 5 years, who do not have contraindications to the vaccine. NACI recommends at least 8 weeks between the first and second dose.

For children 6 months to 5 years of age who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, NACI recommends that a primary series of three doses may be offered with an interval of 4 to 8 weeks between each dose. This is because people who are immunocompromised may have a lower immune response to COVID-19 vaccination.

Infectious diseases, like COVID-19, are unpredictable. Although younger children are less likely to get very ill from COVID-19, some can get really sick, including previously healthy children. Since Omicron became the dominant variant, more children have become infected and the number of hospitalizations and ICU admissions of children under 5 years of age with COVID-19 has increased. COVID-19 vaccination in younger children will increase their protection against severe illness.

Even if a child has been previously infected with COVID-19, vaccination is still important. While infection alone provides some protection, vaccination helps improve the immune response and can provide stronger and longer-lasting protection.

For children under 5 years of age who have already had COVID-19, NACI suggests waiting 8 weeks after the start of COVID-19 symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test before beginning or continuing the primary series. This interval may be shortened to 4 weeks for children who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

At this time, NACI recommends that children 6 months to 5 years of age receive this vaccine 14 days before or after receiving a non-COVID-19 vaccine. This precaution will help determine if a side effect that may arise following immunization is due to the COVID-19 vaccine or a non-COVID-19 vaccine. There may be circumstances when it is necessary for a dose of this vaccine to be given at the same time as another vaccine, in which case a health care provider can help with decision-making.

 

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