Pfizer-BioNTech asked for permission Friday to use the Covid-19 vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds in the United States, which could mark a crucial step in securing herd immunity.
Massive vaccination of teens would also alleviate enormous stress for parents who are juggling the demands of educating their children while keeping pace with work.
The companies said in a statement that they plan to make similar requests from other regulators around the world in the coming days.
His application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration comes after phase 3 clinical trials of the Pfizer vaccine in children ages 12 to 15 showed he was 100% effective at preventing the disease, according to companies.
In late March, they published the results of tests performed on 2,260 teens in the U.S., according to the companies, which showed “robust antibody responses.”
The vaccine was “well tolerated with side effects generally consistent with those seen in participants aged 16 to 25,” the companies said Friday.
At the moment, the vaccine is licensed for use in people 16 years of age and older.
Children are less likely to develop severe Covid, so vaccinating them has been less of a priority than inoculating the elderly.
But they do constitute a large part of the community that will need to be inoculated to achieve the herd’s immunity, when the proportion of people with antibodies largely prevents the spread of the virus.
Experts do not know exactly what percentage of the population must be vaccinated to reach this point, but one of the leading American immunologists, Anthony Fauci, has placed it between 70 and 85 percent.
In February, he said U.S. children 12 and under could be vaccinated in early 2022.
The BioNTech / Pfizer trait is based on new mRNA technology and was the first Covid-19 vaccine approved in the West late last year.
In March, the American biotechnology company Moderna said it had begun testing on children between the ages of six months and eleven. Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine was the third approved for U.S. use, has also begun testing in the 12- to 17-year-old age group.