Canada’s health ministry on Friday said it had authorized the use of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine as a booster for children five to 11 years old at least six months after receiving their initial two doses.
The authorization for a booster shot was granted after a thorough, independent review of the vaccine, which “provides good protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death,” the health ministry wrote on Twitter.
Canada is witnessing a decrease in COVID-19 cases but citizens must prepare for the potential emergence of new variants of the virus in the months ahead, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, told a news conference.
“Many of the good personal protective habits we have honed over more than two years of managing COVID-19 can also reduce your risk of getting infected and spreading other diseases, including monkeypox and influenza,” Tam said.
Canada has reported 1,168 confirmed cases of monkeypox, including 30 hospitalizations, Tam said, adding there has “been a slowing trend in the increase in new cases reported in recent weeks.”
Over 99% of reported cases are male, Tam said.
Monkeypox spreads via close contact and tends to cause flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions; people generally recover from it within two to four weeks, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).