DEARBORN — After a recent study, Pfizer has announced that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective in children as young as 12.
Most COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out worldwide are for adults who are at higher risk of catching the virus.
Currently, Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for ages 16 and older.
In a study of 2,260 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15, preliminary data showed that there were no COVID-19 cases among fully vaccinated adolescents compared to 18 volunteers who were given dummy shots, Pfizer reported.
The study has not yet been published, but researchers reported high levels of virus-fighting antibodies that were somewhat higher than were seen in studies of young adults.
The children studied reportedly had similar side effects of pain, fever, chills and fatigue after receiving the second dose.
The study will continue to track the volunteers for two years for more information on long-term protection.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech plan to seek authorization from the FDA and the European regulators to issue emergency use shots for those aged 12 and older in the coming weeks.
Moderna is also expected to release its studies of how their vaccine protects those from 12 to 17 in the coming weeks.
The FDA has already allowed both companies to begin U.S. studies in children 11 and younger, working their way to as young as 6-months-old to test the vaccine’s efficacy and safety.
Last month, AstraZeneca started studying its vaccine in 6- to 17-year-olds in Britain and Johnson & Johnson is planning its own pediatric studies as well.
In China, Sinovac also recently announced that it has submitted preliminary data to Chinese regulators showing its vaccine is safe in children as young as 3.
Children only represent about 13 percent of the COVID-19 cases documented in the U.S., but 268 have died from COVID-19 and more than 13,500 have been hospitalized, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The number of pediatric deaths from COVID-19 exceeds the number of pediatric deaths related to the flu in an average year.
The children who have recovered reportedly have developed serious inflammatory conditions linked to COVID-19 as well.
It is not yet clear whether children would receive the same dosage as adults or when the FDA is expected to approve vaccines for children.