Medical Experts Debate Use of Pfizer COVID-19 Adult Vaccine Formulation for Children

OTTAWA – Parents and children eagerly await approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11, but with little data to provide and indications that Canada’s excess doses will not be not usable, some in the medical industry wondered why current practice would not apply to the new vaccine.

“If there’s no pharmacological reason, if there’s no reason why we can’t dilute that or use the adult formulation that we have, I think we do,” Jennifer said. Lake, pharmacist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto.

Lake, along with other pharmacists and doctors have been asking the question since Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health made the announcement on Friday.

“I think withdrawing pediatric doses from adult vials is not recommended at this point for a number of reasons,” Dr Theresa Tam said in her latest update.

Although Dr Tam did not go into details, she noted the new wording.

“We also understand from Pfizer that the formulation has changed, so this is their kind of mixed generation formulation, so this is something that needs to be looked at by the regulator,” she added.

Lake agrees the data should be reviewed by Health Canada and NACI, acknowledging the importance of the new formulation, but is still hesitant, comparing the situation to the pooling debate that took place earlier in the vaccine rollout.

“The company has a fiduciary reason to say they sell us more if we don’t, so that’s where the wording changes and they can explain it very well, but if it’s just what ‘She dilutes it more – she’s going to tell us to dilute it more – then we can further dilute what we already have, ”Lake noted.

Other doctors urge caution in these discussions, even at such an early stage.

“I think we are putting the cart before the horse. This stuff, what wording is given, whether the adult wording is given, all of these things will be regulated by the proper authorities, I think we should wait for that,” said Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, specialist in infectious diseases.

“This is a medical intervention. We want it to go through all the appropriate channels and procedures for it to be properly approved,” he added.

Parents in Ottawa say they are confident that whatever decision is made, it will be properly considered.

“For me, that’s when it becomes available, I hope it has been researched and reviewed, and I will make sure to follow up on it, but I trust the people who run these programs,” said Grant McSheffrey, parent from Ottawa.

Lake says that whatever decision is made, it is important to consider timely protection for children.

“We should protect school children as quickly as possible so that they can stay in school,” she noted.

Still, some parents say they’re willing to wait if it means getting the right vaccine.

“I’m going to be confident that when they give the directions they’ve done what they needed to do, so if that means we have to wait a little longer to be sure it’s going to be effective and safe, then that’s very well, ”Ottawa mom Frankie Nadeau said.

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