Summary of National Advisory Committee on Immunization statement of May 18, 2021 

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Overview

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has issued new advice to the federal, provincial, and territorial governments on the recommended use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents 12 to 15 years of age. NACI previously issued advice on the use of this vaccine in adolescents 16 to 18 years of age when it was authorized for this age group in December 2020.

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 recommends that a complete series with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to individuals 12 to 18 years of age who can receive the vaccine.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for adolescents.

Clinical trial evidence showed 100% efficacy in adolescents 12 to 15 years of age against confirmed COVID-19 illness.

Safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in adolescents will continue to be monitored in clinical trial participants and those receiving the vaccine through public health programs. NACI will closely monitor evolving evidence and update its recommendations if needed.

Public health measures (e.g., physical distancing, limiting the size of gatherings) remain the foundation of the pandemic response while vaccines continue to roll out across the country. It is important that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, continue to follow recommended public health measures.

To see the full update, please see Recommendation on the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents 12 to 18 years of age.

Quotes

"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."

"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. 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."

- Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh, NACI Chair

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