Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine safe, efficacious for adolescents

The arrival of coronavirus vaccines means people have started hawking so-called

Chicago: Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE said on Wednesday their COVID-19 vaccine was safe and effective and produced robust antibody responses in 12- to 15-year olds, paving the way for them to seek USA emergency use authorization in weeks.

"These data reinforce our view that we have some really potent vaccines", said Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Britain's Imperial College London, who was not involved in the Pfizer trial.

The release of updated results comes on the heels of separate data that showed the vaccine is safe and effective in 12 to 15-year-olds, paving the way for the drugmakers to seek U.S. and European approval to use the shot in this age group within weeks. During the clinical trial, 18 people in the placebo group developed COVID-19, while no one in the vaccinated group caught the infection.

Pfizer's Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said the updated result, which includes data on more than 12,000 people fully inoculated for at least six months, positions the drugmakers to submit for full United States regulatory approval. The participants will be monitored for protection and safety for two years after their second dose, reported CNN.

Pfizer and BioNTech first put out data showing the shot was highly effective against Covid-19 in November, and then won emergency authorization for the vaccine in December.

What's more, teens in the trial who got the vaccine were later found to have levels of neutralizing antibodies - needed to wipe out the virus - similar to levels in older teens and young adults who had been vaccinated. That's why the trials involving children and adolescents have generally required fewer volunteers than the adult trials.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla

The data from a clinical trial, which puts the shot ahead of other Western vaccine developers in the quest to protect children, will likely allow for its use in that group before the next school year, Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said in a statement.

"We share the urgency to expand the authorization of our vaccine to use in younger populations and are encouraged by the clinical trial data from adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15", Bourla said.

"We all long for a normal life".

BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin added: "We are longing for a normal life", he said in a statement. "The initial results we have seen in the adolescent studies suggest that children are particularly well protected by vaccination, which is very encouraging given the trends we have seen in recent weeks regarding the spread of the B.1.1.7 United Kingdom variant".

Last week, the companies gave the first vaccine doses in a series of trials testing it in younger children, including those as young as six-months-old. Pfizer/BioNTech plans to begin dosing 2 to 5-year-olds next week and work its way down to participants ages 6 months to 2 years.

Pfizer also said the vaccine produced a "robust" antibody response in children, exceeding those recorded earlier in young participants.



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