U.S authorises Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for ages 12-15
THE US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday authorised the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years old.
The United States President, Joe Biden said it is a promising development in the fight against the virus.
“If you are a parent who wants to protect your child, or a teenager who is interested in getting vaccinated, today’s decision is a step closer to that goal.” Biden said.
The FDA previously granted an emergency use authorisation for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to individuals aged 16 and older.
According to the Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Peter Marks, “having a vaccine authorised for a younger population is a critical step in continuing to lessen the immense public health burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The FDA said some 1.5 million COVID-19 cases in individuals aged eleven to 17 years old have been reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021.
The course of the disease is generally milder in children but they can pass it on to older, more vulnerable adults.
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said in March that their two-dose vaccine regimen was shown to be safe and highly effective in a trial of 2,260 12 to 15 year olds.
Biden last week stressed the importance of expanding vaccinations to 12 to 15 year olds and said the authorities were “ready to move immediately” once the authorisation came through.
Some 20,000 pharmacies around the country were ready to begin to vaccinate adolescents, he said, and doses will also be shipped to pediatricians.
Covid-19 vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have also received emergency use authorisations from the FDA but only for individuals over the age of 18.
Acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock described Monday’s move as a “significant step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic,” Woodcock said in a statement.
“Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorisations,” she added.
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