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The FDA could expand the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to teens early next week, The New York Times and CNN reported, both citing unnamed officials familiar with the agency’s plans.
In late March, Pfizer sent data to the FDA showing that its mRNA vaccine was 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection in children ages 12 to 15. Its vaccine is already authorized for adolescents and adults over the age of 16.
This measure would make some 17 million Americans more eligible for vaccination a major step toward the recovery of teens and teens in full-time classrooms next fall.
“All over the world, we yearn for a normal life. This is especially true for our children. The first results we have seen in adolescent studies suggest that children are especially well protected from vaccination, which is very encouraging having take into account the trends we have seen in recent weeks on the spread of the UK variant B.1.1.7 “, said Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of Pfizer partner BioNTech, on March 31 Press release.
Completely reopening schools for face-to-face learning has been a goal of both the Trump and Biden administrations, but it has been difficult to move forward, as some parents and teachers have been reluctant to return to classrooms with so much uncertainty about the risk and the role of children in the spread of the virus.
A recent study of approximately 150,000 school-age children in Israel found that while children under the age of 10 were not likely to catch or spread the virus when they re-entered classrooms. Older children, however, were a different story. The study found that children aged 10 to 19 were as high risk of catching the virus as adults aged 20 to 60.
The risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 increases with age.
Children and adolescents are at relatively low risk for serious outcomes after COVID-19 infection compared to adults, but they can catch it and some will actually get sick, especially if they have an underlying state of health, how obesity or asthma this makes them more vulnerable.
Beyond the initial infection, children may have a rare late complication called MIS-C, which, although treatable, can be severe and requires hospitalization. Emerging reports also suggest that some children become long carriers in the same way that adults do, who have persistent problems for months after the first illness.
As new variants of coronavirus circulate in the United States, some states have experienced a large increase in the number of children and adolescents with COVID. In Michigan, for example, which recently dealt with a spring increase in cases dominated by variant B.1.1.7, cases in children and adolescents quadrupled in April compared to February.
Beyond individual protection, vaccination of children and adolescents has been considered important to achieve strong community protection or immunity of the herd against the new coronavirus.
If the FDA extends the authorization for the Pfizer vaccine, it is likely that the CDC Immunization Practices Advisory Committee will meet to review data on vaccine safety and efficacy. The committee will then be able to vote on new recommendations for using the vaccine in the US
Not everyone agrees with the idea that American adolescents, who have a relatively low risk of poor results, could have access to COVID vaccines ahead of vulnerable essential workers and the elderly of others. parts of the world that are still battling the pandemic with little access to vaccines. .