Pfizer shot officially approved for kids 5 to 11

Pfizer's COVID vaccine. 18 February 2021. ( photo by Colin Gowdy)

It’s official. Health Canada has approved the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 for children aged 5 to 11.

One week after the second dose, clinical trials showed it was 90.7 per cent effective for children in that age group. By comparison, the MMR vaccine is 88 per cent effective against mumps, 97 per cent against measles, and 97 per cent against rubella.

Full vaccination requires two doses given three weeks apart. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is recommending an interval of eight weeks between doses.  It also suggests the vaccine be given either two weeks before or after vaccines for other diseases.

Chief Medical Advisory Doctor Supriya Sharma calls it “very, very good news” and said the vaccine will “bring back a degree of normalcy” for children.

Given the age of the recipients, one dose is 10 mcg, compared to 30 mcg for those 12-years and older.

Talk of approval started weeks ago, and Ontario Health has instructed public health units to come up with their own rollout plan.

Chief Public Health Officer Doctor Theresa Tam did not give any timelines, but said it will begin very soon.

Following vaccination, it is normal to experience side effects for a few hours or even a few days. Those include redness, soreness, and swelling at the injection site. Children may also have chills, fatigue, joint pain, headache, a mild fever, and muscle aches. Very rare side effects associated with an mRNA vaccine are myocarditis and pericarditis, Bell’s palsy.

If your child experiences an allergic reaction, it is important to call emergency services. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or airway, loss of consciousness, increased heart rate, sudden low blood pressure, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea.