New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In a landmark move in the battle against the deadly coronavirus, the US Food and Drugs Administration On Monday (local time) approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for its emergency use in children aged between 12-15 years, sparking a race to protect middle and high school students before they head back to class in the fall.

The COVID-19 jabs for children in the US are expected to start from Wednesday as soon as the federal vaccine advisory committee issues recommendations for using the two-dose vaccine. Pfizer's vaccine is being used in multiple countries for teens as young as 16, and Canada recently became the first to expand use to 12 and up. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech recently requested similar authorization in the European Union, with other countries to follow.

“This is a watershed moment in our ability to fight back the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr Bill Gruber, a Pfizer senior vice president who's also a paediatrician, said as quoted by Associated Press.

The Food and Drug Administration declared the Pfizer vaccine is safe and offers strong protection for younger teens based on testing of more than 2,000 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15. The study found no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared to 18 among kids given dummy shots.

The younger teens received the same vaccine dosage as adults and had the same side effects, mostly sore arms and flu-like fever, chills or aches that signal a revved-up immune system, especially after the second dose, the study said.

Pfizer isn't the only company seeking to lower the age limit for its vaccine. Moderna recently said preliminary results from its study in 12 to 17-year-olds show strong protection and no serious side effects. Another U.S. company, Novavax, has a COVID-19 vaccine in late-stage development and just began a study in 12 to 17-year-olds as well.

Children are far less likely than adults to get seriously ill from COVID-19 yet they still have been hard-hit by the pandemic. They represent nearly 14% of the nation's coronavirus cases. At least 296 have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. alone and more than 15,000 have been hospitalized, according to a tally by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In the meantime, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says unvaccinated people -- including children -- should continue taking precautions such as wearing masks indoors and keeping their distance from other unvaccinated people outside of their households.

 

(With Agency Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan