COVID-19 vaccination for children 5-11 years of age has now been approved by Health Canada
Vaccines will be given at soon to be announced dedicated vaccination sites, some schools and some doctors offices. We will announce locations and times as they become available
Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) in November 2021 indicates that Canadians under the age of 12 now account for the highest number of new COVID-19 infections, greater than 20% of daily new cases. In the US recent outbreak, 40% of COVID-19 cases in the under-18 age group were in children 5-12 years of age, resulting in 8,622 COVID-19 related hospitalizations through September 2021. While mortality and serious illness in Canada remains low, COVID-19 was among the top 10 leading causes of death in the US for children 5-14 years of age between January and May 2021, with 143 related COVID-19 deaths in the US through October 2021. There were 5,217 children in the US diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C). Approximately one-third of children who are hospitalized for COVID-19 do not have any underlying comorbidities. Children serve as important reservoirs of transmission and may become a primary driver of the pandemic, continuing transmission among themselves and to susceptible adults.
The vaccine will initially be Pfizer-BioNTech. Moderna has recently submitted their own application to Health Canada for approval. The dose for Pfizer is 10 mcg, which is lower than the 30 mcg dose for ages 12 and up. It is given in 2 doses recommended eight weeks apart
Pfizer-BioNTech’s study showed that the vaccine effectiveness occurring at least 7 days after Dose 2 was 90.7%. There were no cases of severe COVID-19 and no cases of MIS-C in the vaccinated group. In addition, no cases of myocarditis/pericarditis, though numbers of vaccine given were small. Smaller vaccine dose (10 mcg vs 30 mcg) and relative protection of younger age group (majority of vaccine related myocarditis/pericarditis cases occur in older teen and young adult groups) suggest expected fewer overall cases of myocarditis/pericarditis in the 5-11 year old population. Side effects experienced were classified as mild, including soreness, headache and fatigue.
Simultaneous co-administration of mRNA vaccines with other vaccines such as flushot and other childhood vaccines is not currently recommended by Health Canada. A delay of 2 weeks between covid-19 vaccine and other vaccines is currently advised.
Expected benefits of vaccinating kids 5-11 years of age:
· Reduced lost school days. Improved access to in-class education for the at-risk learners who have the greatest difficulties with on-line education.
· Reduced community transmission including transmission to at-risk and medically vulnerable populations, families, and teachers.
· Potentially reduced hospitalizations, severe illness, and long term/long haul COVID-19 in kids.
· Improved mental health and well being benefits. Slowing the curve of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, which have exploded during the pandemic.
· Reduction in screen-time with subsequent improvements in physical activity, ability to participate in winter indoor activities, and subjective well-being.
· Improvements in the trend of childhood obesity related to sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating.
· Reduction of parental, caregiver and teacher overall stress related to their own exposure to kids acquiring the virus
We support the administration of this important vaccine and are thankful for its availability for all of our 5-11 year old patients
COVID Vaccine for age 5-11 FAQ: https://uwaterloo.ca/pharmacy/sites/ca.pharmacy/files/uploads/files/faq_covid-19_vaccines_for_children.pdf