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Pfizer-BioNTech say vaccine safe for children aged 5-11

Pakistan too would administer Pfizer vaccine to children

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 20, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 weeks ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Sep 20, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 weeks ago

Photo: AFP

Pfizer and BioNTech claimed on Monday that their jointly produced coronavirus vaccine was safe and effective for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

Pakistan is one of the countries to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to school children.

In a joint statement issued on Monday, both pharmaceutical firms stated: “In participants 5 to 11 years of age, the vaccine was safe, well-tolerated and showed robust neutralizing antibody response, using a 2-dose regimen of 10 micrograms.”

Guide: Pfizer vaccine for school children in Karachi

Both the firms said that they intended to hand over trial data to regulatory bodies in the EU and the US and other countries of the world as soon as possible.

More than 2,200 children took part in the trial.

The children received two doses spaced 21 days apart. Older age groups typically receive two shots of 30 micrograms. 

Smaller dosage meant the children experienced fewer side effects, such as sore arms or aches, than older age groups.

The statement comes as coronavirus cases among children surge in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Pakistan has also reported Covid-19 cases among children.

Read: Coronavirus has so far killed 40 children in Pakistan: NCOC

“We are eager to extend the protection afforded by the vaccine to this younger population,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said, adding that “since July, pediatric cases of COVID-19 have risen about 240% in the US.”

Vaccination for young children

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children as young as 12. Other vaccine makers, such as Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are also testing their vaccines on younger children.  

The vaccine could greatly facilitate the safe return of school children to physical attendance in classes around the globe. Many Western countries had been reluctant to vaccinate children because of the lack of data availability on safety and efficacy. 

Israel is among a few countries which has already approved vaccinations for children between the ages of 5 and 11 while Cuba has vaccinated as young as two years old in an effort to reopen schools.   

Data may demonstrate vaccine effectiveness in children, but some parents may still be reluctant to inoculate their children. This reluctance could blunt the effectiveness of vaccination campaigns. 

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