Canada approves the Moderna vaccine for children ages 6 to 11.

Close to four months after Canada’s drug regulator greenlit the country’s first pediatric coronavirus vaccine, manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, it has now approved the Moderna Spikevax vaccine for children between the ages of 6 and 11.

Health Canada, the federal regulatory agency, previously approved Moderna in August 2021 for youths between the ages of 12 and 17, and the dosage for the latest pediatric vaccine is equal to half that given to that age group, the agency said in a news release on Thursday.

In the United States, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for ages 5 to 17.

The Moderna vaccine for children consists of two doses, received four weeks apart.

The additional vaccine option for young children comes as several provinces, including Ontario, move to drop mask mandates in indoor settings, including schools, prompting some school boards to make requests with the province for an extension to the mask mandate.

Epidemiologists expect hospital occupancy will increase when the public health measures are lifted, according to disease modeling released on Thursday by a Covid-19 advisory panel to the province of Ontario.

Canada approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 in November, at the time adding more than 2.8 million young people to those eligible for a shot.

More than 1 million Canadian children aged 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated, and 1.6 million have received at least one dose, according to the most recent federal public health data, published on March 11.

Eighty-three percent of Canadians are fully vaccinated, according to a New York Times database.

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