Ontario Recommends the use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Individuals Aged 18-24 Years Old

Published on October 01, 2021

Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued the following statement on COVID-19 vaccines for individuals aged 18-24 years old:

“Health Canada authorized COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and significantly reduce the risk of infection and serious illness, including hospitalization.

Out of an abundance of caution, Ontario is issuing a preferential recommendation of the use of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for individuals aged 18-24 years old effective immediately based on the current available analysis from Ontario’s adverse events following immunization (AEFI) surveillance system.

This recommendation was based on the advice of Ontario’s Children COVID-19 Vaccine Table, Ontario Vaccine Clinical Advisory Group, and Public Health Ontario and is due to an observed increase in Ontario of the very rare heart condition called pericarditis/myocarditis following vaccination with Moderna compared to Pfizer in the 18 to 24 year old age group, particularly among males. The majority of reported cases have been mild with individuals recovering quickly, normally with anti-inflammatory medication. Symptoms have typically been reported to start within one week after vaccination, more commonly after the second dose.

This decision is also based on the increased and reliable supply of the Pfizer vaccines and the fact that individuals who received Moderna for their first dose can safely take the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for their second dose. Mixing vaccines is safe and effective, and full vaccination with two doses of the mRNA vaccine offers the greatest protection you can have against COVID-19 and the Delta variant.

Based on the significantly higher risks of COVID-19 hospitalizations, ICU admissions and death among the unvaccinated, those who received a first dose of the Moderna vaccine absolutely did the right thing to protect themselves, their loved ones and communities. Vaccination is the best way to protect against COVID-19 related complications, and the risk of contracting myocarditis and other serious adverse events including pericarditis, arrhythmia, deep-vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction, intracranial hemorrhage and thrombocytopenia is 18 times higher among patients with COVID-19. Should individuals aged 18 to 24-year old wish to receive Moderna they can continue to do so with informed consent. The province will continue using the Pfizer vaccine for youth ages 12-17 (including those turning 12 in 2021).

The health and safety of Ontarians remains our top priority, and we will continue to monitor the latest available data regarding the use of Moderna for this population moving forward.

As Ontario continues to respond to the fourth wave driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant, we encourage all eligible Ontarians to sign up to receive their first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine today.”