EU regulators approve BioNTech-Pfizer COVID vaccine for children | News

EU regulators approve BioNTech-Pfizer COVID vaccine for children | News

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on Friday that it had authorized the use of the vaccine against the coronavirus BioNTech-Pfizer developed in Germany for children aged 12 to 15 years.

It is the first vaccine to be approved for young people in the EU.

The block’s drug regulator said the vaccine was “well tolerated” in children and there were no “major concerns” in terms of side effects.

“Extending the protection of a safe and effective vaccine to this younger population is an important step in the fight against this pandemic,” said Marco Cavaleri, head of health threats and vaccine strategy at EMA.

The decision must be endorsed by the European Commission and the various national regulators.

Germany hopes to start administering beatings to school-aged children from June 7, following a meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of Germany’s 16 states on Thursday.

The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine was the first to obtain approval in the EU in December. Since then, approximately 173 million doses have been administered in the block.

Which countries are already vaccinating children?

The United States and Canada have already started offering vaccines to children aged 12 and older in pursuit of herd immunity.

A study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that the vaccine’s effectiveness in children aged 12 to 15 was 100%.

The researchers conducted trials in a group of about 2,000 adolescents, half of whom received two doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine and half of a placebo.

From the vaccinated group, none of the individuals contracted COVID-19 while 16 children in the control group did. Those tested only experienced mild to moderate reactions, according to the study.

The results of the study were made available to the EMA, the German news agency dpa reported.

Moderna, which uses the same Messenger RNA technology as the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine, said earlier this month that its vaccine was 96% in 12 to 17 year olds, according to early results from clinical trials.

Health officials in the United States have said they are looking at a small number of reports of heart inflammation in some younger people who have received mRNA vaccines.

“Most of the cases appear to be mild and case tracking is ongoing,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

What are the German medical authorities saying?

Despite the eagerness of German politicians to start immunizing children, the decision of who has access to the doses rests with the national vaccine commission, StiKo.

One of the 18 commission members, Martin Terhardt, affirmed the apolitical nature of the body in an interview with local public broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk.

“We are an independent scientific group, we have rules and an agenda which oblige us to a specific methodology,” he said on Friday.

“And we will make the decision as we always do, in accordance with scientific, not political criteria, and we will not be influenced by any pressure,” he added.

The president of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, expressed his hesitation about vaccinating children, saying that risk data was “currently still insufficient”, in a conversation with the German newspaper Poste de Rheinische.

The head of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, Florian Hoffman, also expressed concern, suggesting that with restricted vaccination capacities, children – who are usually asymptomatic or more mildly affected – are not the priority.

nm, ab / rs (dpa, AFP)


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