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FDA permits use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine in kids ages 12 to 15


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FDA permits use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine in kids ages 12 to 15

 

KEY POINTS

  • The FDA approved Pfizer and BioNTech’s request to allow their Covid-19 vaccine to be given to kids ages 12 to 15 on an emergency use basis.
  • The agency granting use of the shot in younger age groups will accelerate the nation’s efforts to drive down infections, experts say.
  • It will also allow middle school-aged students to get vaccinated before school starts this fall.

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The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved Pfizer and BioNTech’s request to allow their Covid-19 vaccine to be given to kids ages 12 to 15 on an emergency use basis, allowing states to get middle school students vaccinated before the fall.

 

The U.S. agency granting use of the shot in adolescents will also accelerate the nation’s efforts to drive down infections, public health officials and infectious disease experts say.

 

The two-dose vaccine is already authorized for use in people 16 and older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory committee has scheduled a meeting Wednesday to review the shots for kids. If approved by the CDC as expected, it could be distributed to adolescents as soon as this week.

 

Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said the decision brings “us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic.” She assured parents that the agency “undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data” before clearing it for use in 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 adolescents. They also said the vaccine elicited a “robust” antibody response in the children, exceeding those in an earlier trial of older teens and young adults. Side effects were generally consistent with those seen in adults, they added.

 

Vaccinating children is seen as crucial to ending the pandemic. The nation is unlikely to achieve herd immunity — when enough people in a given community have antibodies against a specific disease — until children can get vaccinated, health officials and experts say.

 

Children make up around 20% of the total U.S. population, according to government data. Between 70% and 85% of the U.S. population needs to be vaccinated against Covid to achieve herd immunity, experts say, and some adults may refuse to get the shots. Though more experts now say herd immunity is looking increasingly unlikely as variants spread.

 

 

Source: FDA permits use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine in kids ages 12 to 15

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