Moderna is asking Health Canada to approve its COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents aged 12 and older, following a study that showed doses were “highly effective” at preventing infection in that age group.
The submission was made on Monday morning and is currently awaiting Health Canada’s go-ahead.
“We are pleased to announce that we have submitted for authorization of our COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents with Health Canada,” said Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna.
“We are encouraged that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was highly effective at preventing COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 infection in adolescents.”
Moderna studied the vaccine’s effects on nearly 2,500 adolescents and claims it is 100 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19. The vaccine was also found to be 93 per cent effective at preventing milder COVID-19, the company said.
Now it’s up to Health Canada to decide whether to approve the vaccine for children aged 12 and older.
The submission comes just over a month after Health Canada approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which uses the same mRNA technology as the Moderna vaccine, for use in adolescents.
“While younger people are less likely to experience serious cases of COVID-19, having access to a safe and effective vaccine will help to control the disease’s spread to their families and friends — some of whom may be at a higher risk of complications,” said Health Canada’s chief medical advisor Dr. Supriya Sharma, speaking just after Pfizer’s approval for teens was announced.
“It will also support the return to a more normal life for our children, who have had such a hard time over the past year.”
To date, 70 per cent of eligible Canadians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. As eligibility continues to expand, so too do Canada’s vaccine dose deliveries.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that Canada will receive 2 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine every week between now and the end of August. The country is also on track to distribution 40 million doses before the end of the month – a figure that surpasses the total population of Canada, which is just shy of 38 million people.
Trudeau said all of this gives Canadians a “reason to be hopeful.”
“The more people are vaccinated, the safer we all are and the closer we all get to being through this crisis,” Trudeau said.
“In other words, you have reason to be hopeful about this summer and this fall.”
The Moderna vaccine has already had gone into some teenagers’ arms in Canada, despite not yet being approved for use in that age group. Doses were accidentally doled out to 12 teenagers in B.C. who were supposed to receive the Pfizer vaccine in late May.
Vancouver Coastal Health medical officers said they don’t believe the use of Moderna will impact the 12 youth who received the shot, and processes were put in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
There have been no reports of any issues arising from the teens receiving the vaccine.
Clinical data the company released last month showed the vaccine posed no new safety issues in the younger age group. The most common side effects after the second dose were headache, fatigue, body aches and chills.
All study participants will be monitored for 12 months after their second dose to determine long-term protection and safety, the company said at the time.
— With files from Reuters