OTTAWA, Canada — Health Canada announced its approval of the use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in youth aged 12 to 17 on Friday.
The Moderna vaccine has been approved for use in adults over the age of 18 in Canada since December 2020.
After a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence, Health Canada said it has determined that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 in youth aged 12 to 17.
Health Canada approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for the same age group in May.
Although children are less likely to become really ill from COVID-19, Health Canada highlighted the importance of having them vaccinated because they can still get sick, be infected and not have any symptoms, spread the virus to others, and may experience long-term effects if they do contract it.
Children and youth with underlying medical conditions may also have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, Health Canada said.
Health Canada data show that as of Aug. 21, 76.9 percent of adolescents between the age of 12 and 17 had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 63.57 percent were fully vaccinated with two doses.
There is still no COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in children under the age of 12 in Canada. Health Canada said clinical trials are currently underway to determine the safety and effectiveness for those in this age group.
Canada reported 1,461 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the cumulative total to 1,484,144 cases, including 26,881 deaths, according to CTV.
Since July 30, Canada’s daily COVID-19 case counts have continued to increase. The latest national seven-day average of 2,848 new cases reported daily on Aug. 20-26 is an increase of 29 percent over the previous week, the Public Health Agency of Canada said Friday.
After several weeks of rising case counts, the country’s national severity trends have begun to increase, primarily involving unvaccinated people. The latest data show that an average of 917 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day on Aug. 20-26, which is 39 percent higher than last week.
This includes, on average 340 people who were being treated in intensive care units (ICU), 29 percent more than last week and an average of nine deaths were reported daily on Aug. 20-26.