EU backs Pfizer – BioNTech for adolescents
Europe’s medicines regulator on Friday backed the use of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children as young as 12, paving way for a broader roll-out in the region after similar clearances in the United States and Canada.
The European Medicines Agency’s endorsement comes weeks after it began evaluating extending use of the vaccine, developed with Germany’s BioNTech, to include 12- to 15-year-olds. It is already being used in the European Union for those aged 16 and older.
Pfizer and BioNTech in March unveiled trial data showing their vaccine offered 100 per cent protection against the infectious disease in a trial with 2,260 adolescents aged 12 to 15.
Inoculating children and young people is considered a critical step towards reaching “herd immunity” and taming the pandemic, and Japan on Friday joined the countries with a go-ahead for Comirnaty in 12-year-olds. Youngsters have been much less likely to suffer severe disease, with many experiencing no symptoms, allowing them to unwittingly transmit Covid-19 to others.
Britain’s medicine regulator on Friday approved Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Covid-19 vaccine for use, with the government adding it had cut its order for the vaccine by 10 million doses. Britain has given two-thirds of its adult population a first Covid-19 shot, and the government cited the “unprecedented scale and pace” of the rollout as behind the decision to cut its order. “As Janssen is a single-dose vaccine, it will play an important role in the months to come as we redouble our efforts to encourage everyone to get their jabs,” health minister Matt Hancock said.