The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is recommending that a complete series (2 doses) of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine be offered to individuals 12 to 18 years of age who can receive it.
“Although the risk of hospitalization, admission to ICU and death associated with COVID-19 is infrequent in this age group, we have seen that adolescents can still experience severe illness, said NACI Chair Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh. “The availability of this vaccine for teenagers in Canada will allow them to resume the activities that are so central to their health and well-being, including in-person schooling, events with friends and family, and extracurricular activities, in accordance with local public health measures.”
NACI updated its guidelines to include use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents 12 to 15 years of age. It previously recommended use in individuals 16 to 18 years of age when it was authorized for this age group in December 2020.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for adolescents, NACI said in a statement posted on the government’s website on Tuesday. Clinical trial evidence showed 100% efficacy in adolescents 12 to 15 years of age against confirmed COVID-19 illness.
“NACI is recommending the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents 12 to 18 years of age. This recommendation follows Health Canada’s recent authorization for individuals 12 to 15 years of age and Phase 3 clinical trials showing 100% efficacy for preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in this age group and similar rates of reactions compared to adults based on follow-up from the trial to date,” the statement read.
On May 5, 2021, Health Canada authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA vaccine in adolescents 12 to 15 years of age, following the results of a Phase 3 clinical trial in this population.
NACI said it will closely monitor evolving evidence and update its recommendations if needed while reiterating that “everyone, regardless of vaccination status, continue to follow recommended public health measures”.