What happened

Shares of BioNTech (BNTX 1.64%) were jumping 9.2% higher as of 12:30 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. The gain came after Health Canada authorized the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer (PFE 0.29%) for children as young as 12 years old.

So what

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was already available in Canada for individuals ages 16 and up. The new authorization for adolescents should help the country fight COVID-19 more effectively. Around one-fifth of all Canadian cases of COVID-19 have affected children and teens.

Healthcare professional giving a vaccine shot to a young boy

Image source: Getty Images.

Canada currently has agreements in place with Pfizer and BioNTech to supply up to 76 million doses this year. This supply deal is more than enough to fully vaccinate all of the country's residents in 2021.  The two drugmakers also reached an agreement with the Canadian government to supply up to 125 million doses of the vaccine in 2022 and 2023. Canada has options to buy up to 60 million doses in 2024 as well.

Now what

BioNTech and Pfizer seem likely to secure U.S. Emergency Use Authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine in kids ages 12 to 15 as early as next week. BioNTech is scheduled to report its first-quarter results on May 10, potentially providing another key catalyst for the biotech stock