It is expected that by next week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccination for youngsters. The age group covered under this programme is 12 to 15 years. This is according to a federal official and a person familiar with the vaccination process. The FDA plans to set up vaccines for many youngsters before the beginning of the next school year.
In April, Pfizer found that its vaccine was also suitable for the younger group. Youngsters 16 years and older can receive the Pfizer vaccine. The company is now proceeding with arrangements to set the announcement date.
The federal official spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the FDA’s action. The official said the agency is expected to expand its emergency use authorisation for Pfizer’s two-dose vaccine. The approval should come by early next week, or even sooner.
This timeline is confirmed by the anonymous person familiar with the process. The person also said the FDA is planning to approve Pfizer’s vaccine for young children by late September.
A meeting of a federal vaccine advisory committee to discuss whether to recommend the shot for 12- to 15-year-olds, will follow after the FDA action. After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adopts the committee’s recommendation, the vaccinations should commence. It may only take a matter of days to complete these steps.
The expected timing for the authorisation was first reported by the New York Times.
Preliminary study results
In late March, preliminary results from a vaccine study of 2,260 US volunteers ages 12 to 15 came out from Pfizer. The results showed fully vaccinated adolescents did not get COVID-19, in comparison to 18 among those given dummy shots.
According to Pfizer, kids had side effects similar to young adults. Pain, fever, chills and fatigue are the main side effects they experience, particularly after the second dose. For more information about long-term protection and safety, the study will continue to track participants for two more years.
Lowering the age limit
Pfizer is not the only vaccine manufacturer pursuing the intention to seek lowering the age limit for its vaccine. US health officials are studying Moderna’s vaccine in 12- to 17-year-olds. Results should be forthcoming by the middle of this year.
The FDA is allowing both companies to begin US studies in children 11 and younger, as preliminary findings look promising. Both the companies will work their way down to trials on babies as young as 6 months old.
Demand drops for adult vaccines
In the US, the demand for vaccines among adults has dramatically slowed in recent weeks. To date, more than 131 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine were administered.
The majority of US adults are now at least partially vaccinated. As such, statistics show younger people are now making up a larger percentage of new infections. Despite being at much lower risk of serious side effects from COVID-19, the younger people have not been vaccinated. This fact is alarming, considering the resuming of higher-risk activities like indoor dining and contact sports in most of the country.
Hope to reopen schools
Officials hope that extending vaccinations to teens will allow schools to reopen with minimal disruptions in end September. They also hope the vaccinations will further accelerate the nation’s reduced virus caseload.
The US has ordered at least 300 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. This is a sufficient quantity to protect 150 million people. The vaccines will be available by the end of July.
4th May 2021 23:00
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