US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced Thursday that its joint vaccine with German company BioNTech SE would begin trials in children under 12 years of age. Currently, the vaccine is licensed by US regulators for people 16 years of age and older.
“Together with our partner BioNTech, we have announced a global study to further evaluate our COVID-19 vaccine in healthy children ages 6 months to 11 years,” Pfizer CEO and President Albert Bourla said in a tweet. “We are proud to begin this much-needed study for children and families waiting for a possible vaccine option.”
Pfizer is the latest company to test its vaccine in young children, after Moderna announced trials in the same age group earlier this month. Johnson & Johnson also plans to test its vaccine on children and infants.
The two-shot BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine will first be tested at different doses of 10, 20, and 30 micrograms in a phase I / II trial of 144 participants. Pfizer spokeswoman Sharon Castillo said volunteers in the trial received their first injections on Wednesday.
Later, the company will move forward with a late-stage test of 4,500 participants. Efficacy data is expected in the second half of 2021.
When could the vaccine be given to children?
Pfizer expects the vaccine to be administered to young children in early 2022. As of now, no coronavirus vaccine has been licensed for children under the age of 16 in the United States, and only the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine is administered to infants. 16 and 17 years old. old.
The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine is currently being tested in children between the ages of 12 and 15 in both the US and Europe, and data from that trial is expected in the coming weeks.
Why should children get vaccinated against COVID-19?
Although children do not usually experience severe symptoms of coronavirus, experts believe that they must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. In the United States, for example, people under the age of 18 make up about one-fifth of the US population of 330 million.
“If we really want to get to herd immunity, that will require up to 80 percent of our population to be vaccinated, and we really can’t do that without vaccinating children,” said American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) president Lee. Savio. Beers told AFP news agency earlier this month.
wd / sms (Reuters, AFP)