British Columbia is “actively preparing” to provide the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children aged six to 11, if and when it receives Health Canada approval.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday there is optimism around approvals as phase two and phase three studies are finishing up.
The information from the studies will be part of data package being submitted over the next few weeks on how well the vaccines work and how safe they are, Henry said.
“I think that’s very good news,” she told a news conference.
“That gives us just one more tool to be able to protect younger children against this virus.”
But she was reluctant to put a timeline on when children may be eligible for the shot. In previous statements, Henry has pointed anywhere from the fall to the end of 2021.
On Monday, Pfizer said its research shows its product works for children aged five to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon.
But Henry said Tuesday they are looking at children between six and 11 being eligible.
Health Canada has said several studies on children are underway by various vaccine makers, and that it expects them to provide data in the next few months.
Pfizer studied a lower dose of its two-dose vaccine in more than 2,200 kindergartners and elementary school-aged kids, mostly in the United States and Europe.
Preparing the vaccine at a lower dose could have some logistical challenges, however.
“We do know that there may be some delays before the manufacturing process,” Henry said.
“This means the vaccine will be available to children in B.C., but we are preparing so that we’re ready to offer it and we have all of the information that parents will need to make those decisions about whether their children should be immunized, and I think this will be very important, especially as we are into the school year again.”
– with files from the Canadian PressView link »