By Nathan Seelig
Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their COVID-19 vaccine was safe for children ages 12 to 15 and was found to be 100% effective at preventing the virus, last Wednesday. Pfizer and BioNTech have announced their intention to seek emergency authorization of their vaccine for those ages by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
According to a press release from Pfizer and BioNTech, approximately half of the 2,260 participants in the trial were given two doses of the vaccine whereas the other half of the participants were given a placebo injection, to compare the difference between those who did and did not receive the vaccine. During the course of the study, there were only 18 cases of COVID-19 observed, all in the placebo group.
Side effects were consistent with previous findings, and no serious ones were observed. Common side effects include fatigue, sore arm, injection site pain, and fever. While Pfizer and BioNTech remain confident in the study’s findings, they have yet to be peer reviewed.
The vaccine, which was given emergency authorization for use in the U.S. in December, was found to be 95% effective among people aged 16 and up in a large-scale trial with 44,000 participants.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla says that he hopes the vaccine will be authorized promptly by the FDA EMA and has set the goal of “starting to vaccinate this age group before the start of the next school year.”
At the moment, the Pfizer and BioNTech Vaccine is available for people ages 16 and older. Pfizer recently began a vaccination study in children ages 6 to 11. They plan to begin studying the effects of the vaccine on children ages 2 to 5 and later infants ages 6 months old to 2 years.