Pfizer, India talk expedited COVID-19 vaccine approval to combat shortage

Ruben Hill
May 5, 2021

It has also approved Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for usage in India.

The first batch of Pfizer vaccines under the World Health Organization's global vaccine COVAX Facility project for around 50,000 front-line health care workers treating COVID-19 patients was distributed in late February. The trial used the same size doses, and the same two-doses requirement, as the vaccine for adults.

"This is the first vaccine authorised in Canada for the prevention of Covid-19 in children and marks a significant milestone in Canada's fight against the pandemic", Health Canada Chief Medical Adviser Supriya Sharma told a news conference.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said earlier in April that the vaccine could be approved by mid-May.

Trials are underway by Pfizer and other drugmakers for other age groups, including children as young as six months.

More than a third of Canadians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and Canada is on track to receive at least 10 million vaccines this month alone.

Health Canada said it will require Pfizer-BioNTech to continue providing information to it on the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccine in this younger age group to ensure its benefits.

"The most commonly reported side effects were temporary and mild, like a sore arm, chills or fever", Sharma said.

Typically, the vaccine submission review process can take much longer, but because of an emergency order, Health Canada has been able to expedite the authorization process.

Sharma said about one-fifth of all cases of COVID-19 in Canada have occurred in children and teenagers, and having a vaccine for them is a critical part of Canada's plan. Once that immune response is triggered, antibodies are produced, which protect people from being infected should the virus enter their system in the future. A total of 4.12 million doses of vaccines had been shipped in as of Monday.

If an approval for the 12-15 year olds is granted, the CDC's vaccine advisory panel will likely meet the following day to review the clinical trial data and make recommendations for the vaccine's use in adolescents, the report added.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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