European Union Clears Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine For Adolescents

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European Union clears Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for adolescents: On Friday, May 28, the European Commission, authorised Pfizer and partner BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine to be used in children who are as young as 12. This decision has paved a way for a broader roll-out after similar clearances have been made in the United States and Canada.

The decision to authorise vaccine for younger citizens comes after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) backed the use of the vaccine in 12 to 15-year-old citizens early on Friday. Those aged 16 and above are already being inoculated with the vaccine in the European Union.

Albert Bourla, who is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Pfizer said that it is a “meaningful” moment for adolescents, parents and families who are seeking protection from the virus and a return to normalcy.

According to the EMA, two doses of the vaccine, which is branded as Comirnaty, were required in the 12-15 age group and it was up to individual EU states to decide if and when to offer the vaccine to teenagers. The vaccine will be administered to teenagers the same as for adults, with an interval of at least three weeks.

Pfizer and BioNTech said that the distribution of the vaccine by the EU member states and its administration with continue to be determined as per the national guidelines and according to the populations identified in the EU. In March, Pfizer and BioNTech unveiled the trial data showing that their vaccine offers 100 percent protection against COVID-19 in a trial with 2,260 adolescents between the age of 12 to 15.

On Thursday, Germany laid out its plans to offer vaccine shots to its 12-year-old citizens starting from June 7, pending the EMA’s verdict. Apart from Germany, Italy also said that it is preparing to extend its inoculation drive to over 12-year-olds.

On Friday, Japan also joined the list of countries by giving Comirnaty a green flag and administering the vaccine in 12-year-olds, calling the inoculation of children and young people a critical step toward reaching “herd immunity” and taming the pandemic.

Picture Credit: Business Standard

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