Canada Clears Moderna's COVID Vaccine for Children Under 5

Reuters staff

July 15, 2022

OTTAWA (Reuters) -Canada on Thursday authorized Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine for babies as young as 6 months old, making it the country's first vaccine against coronavirus for children under 5, Health Canada said.

Canada had been offering Moderna's Spikevax vaccine to children above 5 since March, and the latest authorization means some 1.7 million more children are now eligible for inoculation against COVID, according to Health Canada.

Moderna had applied for the expansion of eligibility for its vaccine in late April.

"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 said in a statement.

The health authority has recommended that children under 5 be given vaccine doses one quarter the size authorized for people over 12 years of age.

"Vaccines are safe and effective, and they remain the best defense against serious illness and hospitalization – please, get yourself and your kids vaccinated," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter after the approval.

Vaccines are generally well accepted in Canada, with about 82% of all Canadians having received two doses of a COVID vaccine. That includes over 40% of children between 5 and 11 who are fully vaccinated.

Pfizer Inc, whose Comirnaty COVID vaccine is also authorized for children above 5, submitted data last month for its vaccine to be approved for the 6 months-5 years age group.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; Editing by Sandra Maler)