Canada has authorised the use of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11.
Trials of the vaccine children showed similar safety and efficacy results to those recorded in trials among adults 16 to 25, according to Pfizer.
Health Canada had said it would only approve the vaccine for children if its analysis demonstrated benefits outweighed any possible risks.
It is the first Covid-19 vaccine approved for this age group in Canada.
“This is very good news for adults and children alike,” said Dr. Supriya Sharma, a senior medical advisor with Health Canada at a news conference Friday. “It provides another tool to protect Canadians, and to the relief of many parents, will help bring back a degree of normality to children’s lives.”
Reported coronavirus cases in Canada have been on a downward trend since mid-September. But after rapid uptake in the spring, vaccination rates have plateaued in recent months.
Nearly 75% of all Canadians are fully vaccinated, according to Health Canada’s most recent data, including 84% of those 12 and older.
Pfizer-BioNTech submitted a request for approval of a child-sized dose of its mRNA vaccine on 18 October. Its clinical trial data showed that the vaccine was highly effective at preventing Covid-19 in that age category.