Health Canada authorizes bivalent COVID-19 booster for ages 5 to 11

OTTAWA – On Dec. 9 Health Canada authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty bivalent-adapted COVID-19 booster for children aged 5 to 11. 

It is the first booster authorized for this age group that targets the original COVID-19 strain and the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 subvariants.

Health Canada previously authorized this bivalent booster for use in individuals 12 years of age and older on Oct. 7. 

While the formulation for children aged 5 to 11 years of age is the same, the dose is one-third of that authorized for those 12 and older.

Officials say that “after a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence,” Health Canada has determined the booster “is safe and effective and that its benefits outweigh any potential risks.”

“Vaccination continues to be one of the most effective tools to protect families, communities and ourselves against COVID-19,” states the Health Canada press release.

“Evidence indicates that all mRNA COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in Canada continue to be very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.”

Health Canada officials say “keeping up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, including getting booster doses as recommended, will help protect individuals against serious illness and other complications from COVID-19 infection.”

Health Canada requires Pfizer-BioNTech to continue providing information on safety and efficacy and, along with the Public Health Agency of Canada, “will continue to closely monitor the safety of this vaccine in Canada and internationally,” officials added.