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Health Canada Approved The Omicron-Specific COVID-19 Booster For Young Canadians

The bivalent vaccine is authorized for residents aged 12 and up.

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
People standing in line for an Omicron variant booster at Montreal's Palais des congrès.

People standing in line for an Omicron variant booster at Montreal's Palais des congrès.

Health Canada has approved another COVID-19 booster shot targeting the Omicron variant. The agency is encouraging Canadians aged 12 and older to get a dose of the updated Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine.

Federal authorization of the booster comes after a lengthy independent vaccine review. The booster offers a "strong immune response" to the original COVID-19 strain and the Omicron variant while incurring "mostly mild side effects," Health Canada wrote in a 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," said the agency.

Authorization of the bivalent vaccine is based on clinical data assessing Pfizer and BioNTech's original shot. The adapted dose has an added mRNA sequence targeting the Omicron spike protein. All other parts of the vaccine remain unchanged, according to the biopharmaceutical company.

Health Canada has required Pfizer-BioNTech to continue collecting and sharing data on the safety and efficacy of the booster and has said it will monitor the effect of the vaccine both in Canada and around the world.

Meanwhile, an application from Pfizer-BioNTech is in the works for a Health Canada review of an adapted bivalent vaccine for children aged five to 11.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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