MONTREAL, July 26, 2022 – As the pandemic continues in Canada and around the world, certain groups of people remain more vulnerable to the disease, including immunocompromised children. While vaccination remains a safe and effective option to protect this population, the number of doses needed for optimal protection has yet to be determined.

As a result, the Government of Canada, through its COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF), has provided over $800,000 to clinical researcher Hélène Decaluwe, MD, PhD, at the Centre hospitalier universitaire (CHU) Sainte-Justine, supported by a team including Caroline Quach-Thanh, MD, MSc. This funding will support the Immune Response in Young ImmunoSuppressed children to COVID-19 vaccination research project (IRYIS), which aims to study the immune response of immunosuppressed children to COVID-19 vaccination.

The primary objective of the study is to determine whether two doses of a vaccine are sufficient to protect immunocompromised children for a long enough time and effectively, or whether three doses should be given, plus booster doses.

To do this, the research team is working to collect data on the immune response induced by vaccination against COVID-19 with an mRNA vaccine in immunocompromised children under 11 years of age and those in the same age group without an immune deficiency.

“It appears essential for us to determine the efficacy of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in children with inherited or treatment-induced immune deficiencies to guide vaccination recommendations and protect these children from infection. At the CHU Sainte-Justine, we follow a significant number of children who have fragile immune systems due to the diseases they suffer from or the treatments they receive. It is essential for us to better understand how to protect them from the virus through vaccination, so that they can live a normal social life despite the pandemic,” said Dr. Decaluwe.

“This research complements our portfolio of pediatric studies that aim to generate evidence to help regulators, physicians and patients make evidence-based decisions,” said Catherine Hankins, MD, PhD, co-chair of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. “Research shows us that some immunocompromised adults do not mount as strong an immune response as others, and it is critical to do studies focused on children to ensure that they can be adequately protected.”

About the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force

The Government of Canada established the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) in late April 2020 to catalyze, support, fund, and harmonize research on SARS-CoV-2 immunity for federal, provincial, and territorial decision-makers in their efforts to protect Canadians and minimize the impact of the COVID-19. The Task Force and its Secretariat work closely with a range of partners, including governments, public health agencies, institutions, health organizations, research teams, other task forces, engaging communities and stakeholders. To date, the CITF has supported over 100 studies across Canada that are generating critical insights on the levels, trends, nature, and duration of immunity arising from SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 vaccination. The CITF is overseen by an Executive Committee of volunteers that includes leading scientists and policymakers from across Canada.


COVID-19 Immunity Task Force
Jean Phillippe Rochette
Cell: +1.514.432.4939

The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Public Health Agency of Canada.