BREAKING NEWS: FDA authorizes Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in children aged 12-15
- Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s Covid vaccine for people ages 12-5, officials told the New York Times
- The Pfizer vaccine was authorized for anyone aged 16 or older in the U.S. in December
- A trial conducted from October to March found that Pfizer’s shot was 100% effective at preventing severe illness or death in 12- to 15-year-olds
- However, less than 0.1 percent of all U.S. Covid fatalities were in kids under 18, raising questions about whether kids will be getting shots just to protect adults
U.S. regulators gave Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorization for children ages 12 to 15, making it the first shot available to kids younger than 16, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Monday.
The shot was authorized for people ages 16 and up in December, and Pfizer has been in trials for teens since October of last year.
Expanding vaccine availability to younger teenagers will make about 13 million additional Americans eligible for vaccination, a step that some see as critical to reaching herd immunity and improving safety as children return to school.
Others, however, have questioned whether vaccinating children is worth the risk, considering that only 471 children under age 18 have died of COVID-19, accounting for 0.1 percent of all U.S. coronavirus fatalities.
U.S. regulators are expected green light Pfizer’s Covid vaccine to be given to teenagers between ages 12 and 15 as early as the end of this week, officials told the New York Times
If Pfizer’s shot gets the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) greenlight for younger teens, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will most likely meet the next day and review findings from Pfizer’s trial.
The agency will then recommend whether or not it believes the vaccine is safe and effective for ages 12 to 15.
Pfizer announced the results of its adolescent trial on March 31.
The firm’s study of 2,260 volunteers found it prevented 100 percent of severe illnesses and deaths from COVID-19 among the teenagers.
In fact, the children showed stronger immune responses to the shot than did the 16- to 25-year-old group Pfizer had previously tested its vaccine in.
A press release about the result makes no mention of concerning side effects among teenages, but regulators will comb over the data to be sure there are no red flags before okaying the shot for teens.
For some parents who were nervous about their kids returning to school, the shot can’t come soon enough.
Nearly half of U.S. schools were back to fully in person learning by March 23, according to a Washington Post analysis.
But the CDC has stated in no uncertain terms that neither teachers nor students need to be vaccinated in order to return safely to school.
Despite that recommendation, the Biden administration has continued to urge states to prioritize vaccinating teachers, ahead of authorization for vaccinations to be administered to the majority of school-age children.
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