Pfizer vaccine authorised by US FDA for adolescents

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Hanna Riva Goldberg, 16, receives the Pfizer vaccine, New Hyde Park, NYImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
The Pfizer jab was already being given to people as young as 16 in the US

The US has authorised the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds amid a push to get the shot into more Americans' arms.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was "a significant step in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic".

FDA Commissioner Dr Janet Woodcock said the move was aimed at "bringing us close to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic".

About 250 million doses have been given in the US, but demand has been falling.

Ms Woodcock added in her statement: "Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our Covid-19 vaccine emergency use authorisations."

Successful trial

Monday's announcement expands an emergency use authorisation that already allowed the Pfizer jab to be administered to people as young as 16 in the US.

The decision follows a clinical trial by Pfizer and BioNTech involving 2,260 children aged 12-15. The participants received either two doses of the vaccine, or a placebo.

There were 18 cases of symptomatic coronavirus infection in the placebo group and none among the children who received the vaccine, found the trial.

The FDA's seal of approval is not the final regulatory hurdle. An advisory panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will review the data soon.

Immunisations could begin straight away if, as expected, the CDC committee approves the vaccine's use in adolescents.

Some of New York and Oregon's biggest universities have meanwhile joined a growing number of higher education institutions requiring students and staff to have Covid-19 vaccinations before they can return to classes this autumn.

The rules were announced on Monday by State University of New York, the City University of New York, the University of Oregon and Western Oregon University. 

Last week, US President Joe Biden announced a plan to get at least one dose of vaccine administered to 70% of the nation's population by 4 July.

Mask mandates are being loosened across the country, and most states have reopened their economies, or are doing so within the next month.

But dwindling demand for the shot has been prompting states across the country to refuse their full allocation of doses from the federal government.

Wisconsin, Iowa, Connecticut, South Carolina, North Carolina and Washington are all among states that reduced their requests.

Is coronavirus dangerous for children?

The risk of children becoming seriously ill from the virus is tiny, health data shows.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), as of this month 3.85 million US children have tested positive for Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic, just over 10% of total cases nationwide.

Between 0.1%-1.9% of all child Covid-19 cases resulted in the patient being admitted to hospital, found the organisation's report.

No more than 0.03% of all child Covid-19 cases resulted in death, according to the AAP.

The risk of complications for healthy children is higher for flu compared with Covid-19, according to the CDC.

What about other vaccine manufacturers?

Pfizer has been one of a number of vaccine manufacturers testing jabs on children. The aim of vaccinating them - particularly older children - would be to keep schools open, reduce the spread of coronavirus in the community and protect vulnerable children with conditions which put them at increased risk.

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are currently testing their vaccines on those aged 12-18, with Moderna's data expected soon.

Moderna and Pfizer are also testing their jabs on younger children between six months and 11 years old.

Media caption,

AstraZeneca's clinical trial on volunteers between six and 17 begin

In the UK, AstraZeneca is testing its vaccine on 300 child volunteers. Researchers will assess whether the jab produces a strong immune response in children aged between six and 17.

Last week President Biden said he planned to back a World Trade Organization waiver that would take away intellectual property rights from vaccine manufacturers. If approved, the waiver would allow production of vaccines to be ramped up and provide more affordable doses for less wealthy countries.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, described Mr Biden's backing as a "monumental moment in the fight against Covid".

Global vaccine rollout

Scroll table
World
61
12,120,524,547
China
87
3,403,643,000
India
66
1,978,918,170
US
67
596,233,489
Brazil
79
456,903,089
Indonesia
61
417,522,347
Japan
81
285,756,540
Bangladesh
72
278,785,812
Pakistan
57
273,365,003
Vietnam
83
233,534,502
Mexico
61
209,179,257
Germany
76
182,926,984
Russia
51
168,992,435
Philippines
64
153,852,751
Iran
68
149,957,751
UK
73
149,397,250
Turkey
62
147,839,557
France
78
146,197,822
Thailand
76
139,099,244
Italy
79
138,319,018
South Korea
87
126,015,059
Argentina
82
106,075,760
Spain
87
95,153,556
Egypt
36
91,447,330
Canada
83
86,256,122
Colombia
71
85,767,160
Peru
83
77,892,776
Malaysia
83
71,272,417
Saudi Arabia
71
66,700,629
Myanmar
49
62,259,560
Chile
92
59,605,701
Taiwan
82
58,215,158
Australia
84
57,927,802
Uzbekistan
46
55,782,994
Morocco
63
54,846,507
Poland
60
54,605,119
Nigeria
10
50,619,238
Ethiopia
32
49,687,694
Nepal
69
46,888,075
Cambodia
85
40,956,960
Sri Lanka
68
39,586,599
Cuba
88
38,725,766
Venezuela
50
37,860,994
South Africa
32
36,861,626
Ecuador
78
35,827,364
Netherlands
70
33,326,378
Ukraine
35
31,668,577
Mozambique
44
31,616,078
Belgium
79
25,672,563
United Arab Emirates
98
24,922,054
Portugal
87
24,616,852
Rwanda
65
22,715,578
Sweden
75
22,674,504
Uganda
24
21,756,456
Greece
74
21,111,318
Kazakhstan
49
20,918,681
Angola
21
20,397,115
Ghana
23
18,643,437
Iraq
18
18,636,865
Kenya
17
18,535,975
Austria
73
18,418,001
Israel
66
18,190,799
Guatemala
35
17,957,760
Hong Kong
86
17,731,631
Czech Republic
64
17,676,269
Romania
42
16,827,486
Hungary
64
16,530,488
Dominican Republic
55
15,784,815
Switzerland
69
15,759,752
Algeria
15
15,205,854
Honduras
53
14,444,316
Singapore
92
14,225,122
Bolivia
51
13,892,966
Tajikistan
52
13,782,905
Azerbaijan
47
13,772,531
Denmark
82
13,227,724
Belarus
67
13,206,203
Tunisia
53
13,192,714
Ivory Coast
20
12,753,769
Finland
78
12,168,388
Zimbabwe
31
12,006,503
Nicaragua
82
11,441,278
Norway
74
11,413,904
New Zealand
80
11,165,408
Costa Rica
81
11,017,624
Ireland
81
10,984,032
El Salvador
66
10,958,940
Laos
69
10,894,482
Jordan
44
10,007,983
Paraguay
48
8,952,310
Tanzania
7
8,837,371
Uruguay
83
8,682,129
Serbia
48
8,534,688
Panama
71
8,366,229
Sudan
10
8,179,010
Kuwait
77
8,120,613
Zambia
24
7,199,179
Turkmenistan
48
7,140,000
Slovakia
51
7,076,057
Oman
58
7,068,002
Qatar
90
6,981,756
Afghanistan
13
6,445,359
Guinea
20
6,329,141
Lebanon
35
5,673,326
Mongolia
65
5,492,919
Croatia
55
5,258,768
Lithuania
70
4,489,177
Bulgaria
30
4,413,874
Syria
10
4,232,490
Palestinian Territories
34
3,734,270
Benin
22
3,681,560
Libya
17
3,579,762
Niger
10
3,530,154
DR Congo
2
3,514,480
Sierra Leone
23
3,493,386
Bahrain
70
3,455,214
Togo
18
3,290,821
Kyrgyzstan
20
3,154,348
Somalia
10
3,143,630
Slovenia
59
2,996,484
Burkina Faso
7
2,947,625
Albania
43
2,906,126
Georgia
32
2,902,085
Latvia
70
2,893,861
Mauritania
28
2,872,677
Botswana
63
2,730,607
Liberia
41
2,716,330
Mauritius
74
2,559,789
Senegal
6
2,523,856
Mali
6
2,406,986
Madagascar
4
2,369,775
Chad
12
2,356,138
Malawi
8
2,166,402
Moldova
26
2,165,600
Armenia
33
2,150,112
Estonia
64
1,993,944
Bosnia and Herzegovina
26
1,924,950
Bhutan
86
1,910,077
North Macedonia
40
1,850,145
Cameroon
4
1,838,907
Kosovo
46
1,830,809
Cyprus
72
1,788,761
Timor-Leste
52
1,638,158
Fiji
70
1,609,748
Trinidad and Tobago
51
1,574,574
Jamaica
24
1,459,394
Macau
89
1,441,062
Malta
91
1,317,628
Luxembourg
73
1,304,777
South Sudan
10
1,226,772
Central African Republic
22
1,217,399
Brunei
97
1,173,118
Guyana
58
1,011,150
Maldives
71
945,036
Lesotho
34
933,825
Yemen
1
864,544
Congo
12
831,318
Namibia
16
825,518
Gambia
14
812,811
Iceland
79
805,469
Cape Verde
55
773,810
Montenegro
45
675,285
Comoros
34
642,320
Papua New Guinea
3
615,156
Guinea-Bissau
17
572,954
Gabon
11
567,575
Eswatini
29
535,393
Suriname
40
505,699
Samoa
99
494,684
Belize
53
489,508
Equatorial Guinea
14
484,554
Solomon Islands
25
463,637
Haiti
1
342,724
Bahamas
40
340,866
Barbados
53
316,212
Vanuatu
40
309,433
Tonga
91
242,634
Jersey
80
236,026
Djibouti
16
222,387
Seychelles
82
221,597
Sao Tome and Principe
44
218,850
Isle of Man
79
189,994
Guernsey
81
157,161
Andorra
69
153,383
Kiribati
50
147,497
Cayman Islands
90
145,906
Bermuda
77
131,612
Antigua and Barbuda
63
126,122
Saint Lucia
29
121,513
Gibraltar
123
119,855
Faroe Islands
83
103,894
Grenada
34
89,147
Greenland
68
79,745
St Vincent and the Grenadines
28
71,501
Liechtenstein
69
70,780
Turks and Caicos Islands
76
69,803
San Marino
69
69,338
Dominica
42
66,992
Monaco
65
65,140
Saint Kitts and Nevis
49
60,467
British Virgin Islands
59
41,198
Cook Islands
84
39,780
Anguilla
67
23,926
Nauru
79
22,976
Burundi
0.12
17,139
Tuvalu
52
12,528
Saint Helena
58
7,892
Montserrat
38
4,422
Falkland Islands
50
4,407
Niue
88
4,161
Tokelau
71
1,936
Pitcairn
100
94
British Indian Ocean Territory
0
0
Eritrea
0
0
North Korea
0
0
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
0
0
Vatican
0
0

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