The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved Pfizer and BioNTech's request for the COVID-19 vaccine to be given to 12- to 15-year-olds in an emergency, allowing states to vaccinate high school students before the fall.
The two-dose vaccine has already been approved for use in people 16 years of age and older. The Advisory Board of the Vaccine Control and Prevention Centers has scheduled a meeting on Wednesday to consider plans for 12- to 15-year-olds. CDC as expected, could be distributed to teens from this week.
FDA Deputy Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said the decision brings us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and ending the pandemic. He assured the parents that the agency "undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data" before giving approval for use to the teens.
The companies said in late March that the vaccine was found to be 100% effective in a clinical trial of more than 2.000 teens. The vaccine was also said to elicit a "strong" antibody response in children, surpassing those from a previous test in older teens and young adults. The side effects were generally consistent with those seen in adults, they added.
Vaccinating children is considered vital to ending the pandemic. The nation is unlikely to achieve herd immunity until the children are vaccinated, say health officials and experts.
Children make up about 20% of the total US population, according to government figures. Between 70% and 85% of the US population must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity, experts say. Although most experts now say that herd immunity seems more and more unlikely as variants of the disease spread.
Source of information: cnbc.com