Second COVID-19 vaccine for youth could be approved before start of school year

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A second vaccine for those aged 12 to 17 could be approved in Canada before the start of the school year.

According to health officials, a decision on giving Moderna to those in this age group could be reached by mid-July. Currently, only Pfizer is approved for people aged 12 to 17 in Canada.

“Health Canada has adjusted their broad estimates for timelines for a decision on Moderna approval for 12 to 17,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force, at a news conference on Wednesday.

“They had originally been thinking it would be end of June, they’re now talking mid-July for a decision. Of course, they haven’t given us an exact date. We’ll have to wait and see what they end up deciding.”

As for those under the age of 12, both Moderna and Pfizer are undergoing trials on vaccine effectiveness for those six months up to 11 years of age.

Reimer said they’re expecting the first results, which will probably be for those aged five to 11, could be released in September. The companies would then have to get Health Canada’s approval.

“There’s still many different factors that could adjust those timelines,” she said.

“So that’s sort of our planning assumption on our side right now is that it’s possible that we could see some approvals down to age five in September, but that’s very much out of our control and even out of Health Canada’s control, as the companies are still working on those trials as we speak.”