WELLINGTON COUNTY – Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health medical officer of health Dr. Nicola Mercer confirmed to the Advertiser on Aug. 27 the local health unit is cleared to administer first and second doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 following Health Canada’s approval for its expanded use on Aug. 27.
“I’ve been expecting this announcement for quite a number of months actually, I thought we would have seen it perhaps as early as the beginning of June,” Mercer said in a phone call, calling the approval “good news.”
“We happen to have a large amount of Pfizer vaccine locally and have been vaccinating this age group with Pfizer for many months now,” Mercer said, adding she doesn’t anticipate Moderna will take over the health unit’s preferred use of Pfizer vaccines in adolescents.
Health Canada approved the expanded use of Moderna under an interim order, making it the second vaccine available for adolescent age groups, joining the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine—approved for use in 12 to 15 year-olds back in May.
Since then, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization has released newly updated guidance on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in adolescents after examining “additional evidence including clinical data on the efficacy, safety, and [immune response] to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents as well as post-market safety and effectiveness.”
According a publicly available decision document from Health Canada, 3,732 adolescents between 12 and 17 years-old were enrolled in a Moderna vaccine study prior to government approval of its expanded use.
The study “is ongoing and will continue to collect information on the long-term safety, efficacy and immunogenicity of the vaccine” up to a year after a second dose is administered to study participants.
When it comes to Moderna, Mercer said “with informed consent, we are able to provide this vaccine” should someone decline a Pfizer vaccine.
“As with all vaccines, the individual would be required to provide informed consent and this would also be subject to availability of the vaccine in our clinic. Both Pfizer and Moderna are Health Canada approved vaccines for this age range.”