Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has become the second COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in youth aged 12 to 17 in Canada.

Health Canada announced Friday that Moderna now follows Pfizer as the second vaccine approved for use in that age group.

Moderna has been authorized for use in those 18 and up in Canada since December 2020.

“After a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence, Health Canada has determined that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing #Covid19 in youth aged 12 to 17,” Health Canada said in a tweet.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for use in adolescents back in May.

Updated guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) Friday said both vaccines offer young people “very good protection” against the virus.

“Clinical trial findings suggest the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines provide very good protection against symptomatic COVID-19 infection and have a favourable benefit versus risk profile in adolescents 12 years of age and older,” NACI said.

NACI said it had taken into account rare cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and/or pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart) when making its recommendation.

The two syndromes have occurred in fewer than one in 100,000 people who received a COVID-19 vaccine overall. Canada has seen 557 cases of the two syndromes in those who have received a shot.

The news that those 12 and up can now receive the Moderna shot comes just about a week before kids are set to head back to school.

The latest figures show that 61 per cent of Ontario residents aged 12-17 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 73.63 per cent have had at least one dose.

To date Ontario has received more than 17.3 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and more than 7.6 million doses of the Moderna vaccine.

The authorization of Moderna could make it easier to get shots in arms for those in the approved age group who have yet to get immunized.

The Moderna shot has also been authorized for use in teenagers in Europe, though it has not yet been authorized for that age group in the United States.

Moderna and Pfizer are both conducting trials of their vaccines in kids under 12 and the results of those trials are expected sometime in the fall.

-With files from The Canadian Press