The Government of Canada made a pair of significant announcements Friday in the country’s fight against Covid-19.
Health Canada has officially given approval for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine for children aged 5–11.
In a statement made to the media, Health Canada said that the vaccine was 90.7 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19 infections in children.
Health Canada also said that there were no serious side effects identified in patients during the clinical trials performed by Pfizer-BioNTech.
The Public Health Agency of Canada said that the pediatric formulation of the Comirnaty vaccine offered similar protection to that of older children and youth who have received the adolescent formulation.
Approximately 391,000 children aged 5–11 are now eligible for the vaccine according to population statistics provided by the Government of Alberta.
Premier Jason Kenney said in a pre-recorded video released to social media Friday morning, that the pediatric version of their vaccine has gone through exhaustive trials, and been proven to be safe and effective.
“We would certainly encourage parents of children between the ages of 5 and eleven, who till now have not been eligible to receive the regular vaccine, to look at the information about the safety and efficacy of those vaccines,” he said.
All of the vaccines approved for use in Canada have undergone extensive human clinical trials on volunteers, and Health Canada makes the results of those trials available on their Covid-19 treatment and vaccines website.
Doses are expected to arrive in Alberta next week. Parents can pre-register their children for vaccinations through Alberta Health Services.
Alberta’s restrictions exemption program will not be extended to children aged 5 through eleven.
Changes coming to border crossing
Restrictions surrounding border crossings were also been loosened Friday.
Beginning on Nov. 30, fully vaccinated travelers who depart, and then re-enter Canada within 72 hours will not have to present a negative molecular Covid-19 test.
The lifting of this requirement will apply only to Canadian Citizens, permanent residents, or individuals registered under the Indian Act.
Currently, a negative molecular test is required, and that includes testing such as PCR, NAT, or RT-LAMP tests.
Deborah Yedlin, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, said to LiveWire Calgary on Wednesday. before the announcement was made official, that this lifting of restrictions simplifies travel for Calgary businesses.
“That PCR test requirement was creating a lot of transactional friction,” she said.
“This absolutely simplifies it, and it is so critical that this is a barrier that’s been eliminated—it was a huge barrier, it was a barrier for tourism, hospitality, and trade, and this is this is tremendous news for the economy.”
Currently, as of Nov. 18, 127 of Alberta’s 5,384 active cases have been identified as being due to travel.