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Pfizer’s updated COVID vaccine approved by Health Canada

Click to play video: 'Health Canada approves updated Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine'
Health Canada approves updated Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
WATCH: Health Canada has approved the updated COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer for Canadians aged six months and older – Sep 29, 2023

Pfizer’s updated COVID-19 vaccine for the upcoming fall and winter months has been granted Health Canada approval.

Pfizer’s updated vaccine is approved for people six months and older.

This decision follows the recent approval of Moderna’s updated vaccine for all Canadians aged six months and older.

Both Pfizer and Moderna’s shots are one-dose vaccines for people five years of age and older.

Three shots of the Pfizer vaccine are recommended for children between six months and four years of age who have not received their primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Health Canada says it is currently reviewing an updated non-mRNA vaccine from Novavax.

Novavax’s vaccine has been submitted for consideration in people 12 years of age and older.

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Click to play video: 'Canada at the ‘beginning’ of its fall respiratory season: Tam'
Canada at the ‘beginning’ of its fall respiratory season: Tam

At the time of Moderna’s approval, Health Canada senior medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma said the department was actively reviewing submissions from Pfizer and Novavax for their vaccines targeting XBB.1.5.

“These submissions are being reviewed on a priority basis by dedicated scientific teams,” she said during a briefing on Sept. 12.

“Timing for the completion of these reviews depends on many factors. We will make decisions once we have thoroughly evaluated all of the required information.”

The vaccine approval coincides with the emergence of two new COVID-19 variants, BA.2.86 and EG.5, within the country, and experts are again warning about continued vigilance in public health measures.

“This vaccine is anticipated to provide a robust immune response that will be effective against the Omicron XBB.1.5 variant,” Sharma said.

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In recent weeks, Canada has witnessed a rise in reported COVID-19 cases, and Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, partly attributed this increase to diminishing vaccine effectiveness over time, highlighting the importance of getting an updated vaccine.

On Sept. 6, Pfizer said its new COVID-19 vaccine elicited a strong antibody response against the highly mutated BA.2.86 variant of the coronavirus in a preclinical study in mice.

Moderna also said clinical trial data in humans showed its updated shot will likely be effective against the variant.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is still recommending authorized age groups get an updated COVID-19 vaccine dose this fall, six months after their last vaccine dose or infection.

With files from the Canadian Press

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