FILE – Grade one students wear masks as they attend class at Honore Mercier elementary school Tuesday, March 9, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

FILE – Grade one students wear masks as they attend class at Honore Mercier elementary school Tuesday, March 9, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Why is there no COVID vaccine for kids yet? A B.C. researcher breaks it down

Clinical trials are ongoing both for youth and for pregnant women

Although there are now several COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada, and vaccination efforts are ramping up, there’s still one group that’s not eligible: children.

All COVID-19 vaccines in Canada are authorized for 16 and up or 18 and up, largely, according to the University of B.C.’s Anna Blakney, an assistant professor at the school’s Michael Smith Laboratories and School of Biomedical Engineering.

“When you’re first developing a vaccine, you don’t want to do it in more vulnerable populations,” Blakney said in a recent UBC Q&A. COVID-19 vaccine trials have included some vulnerable groups, however, such as seniors because the risk to older people from COVID-19 is so great.

Trials are currently ongoing for some vaccine for youth, including Moderna and Pfizer.

Another group that wasn’t included in the initial vaccine trials is pregnant women. Moderna and Pfizer are currently working on clinical trial of their vaccines for pregnant women but the results aren’t yet known.

“This is an important group because you don’t want to get COVID while you’re pregnant but you also don’t want a vaccine that has any negative side effects on your pregnancy,” Blakney said. “As the guidelines are always changing, it’s best to talk to your GP and decide whether you’re in a risk group where you should get the vaccine. The guidelines say it’s fine to get the vaccine while you’re breastfeeding and after you’ve had your baby.”

For women trying to get pregnant, Blakney said there’s “no reason” to think that any of the currently approved COVID-19 vaccines would affect fertility.

READ MORE: Most B.C. adults could get their first COVID vaccine shot by July: health officials

READ MORE: Recent increase in COVID cases worries Canada’s health officials even as vaccines roll out


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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