EU regulator authorizes Pfizer to provide COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 5-11

The Hague, Netherlands (Associated Press)-EU drug regulator authorized on Thursday PfizerThe coronavirus vaccine is used in children aged 5 to 11, paving the way for millions of elementary school students to be vaccinated in a new wave of infections sweeping across the African continent.

This is the first COVID-19 vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency for use in young children.

The agency stated that it “recommended to extend the indications of the COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty to include use in children aged 5 to 11 years.”

After evaluating vaccine studies conducted on more than 2,000 children, EMA estimates that the vaccine is approximately 90% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in young children, and stated that the most common side effects are pain at the injection site, headache, and muscles. Pain and chills. The agency stated that the two-dose regimen should be given to children three weeks apart.

At least one country facing a surge in infections has not waited for EMA’s approval. Authorities in Vienna, the Austrian capital, have begun vaccinating children between the ages of 5 and 11. Europe is currently at the center of the pandemic, and the World Health Organization warned that unless emergency measures are taken, the number of deaths on the European continent may exceed 2 million by the spring.

EMA green light for vaccines developed by EMA Pfizer The German company BioNTech must be approved by the European Commission, the European Union’s executive branch, before the health authorities of the member states can start vaccinating.

Earlier this week, German Health Minister Jens Spahn stated that the delivery of vaccines for young children in the European Union would begin on December 20.

U.S. signed PfizerChild-sized photos were introduced earlier this month, followed by other countries, including Canada.

Pfizer The dose tested is one third of the adult dose for school-age children. Dr. Bill Gruber said that even with smaller vaccines, children aged 5 to 11 produce levels of anti-coronavirus antibodies that are as strong as teenagers and young people who receive regular-intensity injections. Pfizer The senior vice president told the Associated Press in September.

But the research done PfizerThe vaccine given in children is not enough to detect any rare side effects of the second dose of the vaccine, such as chest and heart inflammation seen in most male adolescents and young adults.

U.S. officials pointed out that before the routine vaccination of children, COVID-19 caused more deaths among children in the 5 to 11-year-old age group than other diseases such as chickenpox.

Earlier this month, EMA stated that it has begun evaluating the use of Moderna Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 6 to 11 years; it estimates that it will make a decision within two months.

Although most children have mild symptoms of COVID-19, some public health experts believe that immunizing them should be a priority to reduce the continued spread of the virus, which in theory may lead to dangerous new variants.

Researchers disagree on the impact of children on the pandemic. Early research shows that they do not contribute much to the spread of the virus. But some experts say that this year children played an important role in spreading infectious variants such as alpha and delta.

In a statement this week, the WHO stated that because children and adolescents are often less affected by COVID-19 than adults, “compared with the elderly, people with chronic diseases, and health workers, vaccinating them is not Not so urgent.”

It called on rich countries to stop vaccinating children and asked them to immediately donate the vaccine to poor countries that have not yet provided the first dose of vaccine to health workers and vulnerable people.

Nonetheless, WHO recognizes that the benefits of vaccinating children and adolescents go beyond direct health benefits.

The WHO said: “Vaccinations at this age that reduce the spread of COVID may reduce the spread from children and adolescents to the elderly, and may help reduce the need for schools to take mitigation measures.”


Maria Cheng reported from London.

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.

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