Pfizer vaccine authorised by US FDA for adolescents

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image captionThe 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 captionAstraZeneca'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
30.6
2,388,328,594
China
61.9
895,955,194
US
92.5
309,322,545
India
18.1
249,430,416
Brazil
36.8
78,133,938
UK
106.8
71,343,859
Germany
71.7
60,105,411
France
65.3
44,127,058
Italy
69.9
42,245,192
Mexico
28.7
36,983,641
Turkey
40.4
34,052,689
Russia
22.5
32,831,196
Spain
69.0
32,282,553
Indonesia
11.6
31,727,380
Canada
76.9
29,023,531
Poland
64.7
24,470,301
Japan
18.7
23,685,319
Chile
106.7
20,403,835
Morocco
44.6
16,457,911
Argentina
36.0
16,286,902
Saudi Arabia
45.5
15,836,419
South Korea
28.9
14,834,410
United Arab Emirates
139.6
13,808,426
Colombia
25.4
12,917,941
Netherlands
66.5
11,395,454
Pakistan
4.8
10,696,402
Israel
122.7
10,623,711
Bangladesh
6.1
10,062,784
Hungary
97.6
9,424,351
Belgium
73.6
8,534,207
Romania
44.2
8,505,715
Portugal
67.1
6,840,510
Greece
65.6
6,835,783
Czech Republic
61.1
6,543,437
Philippines
5.8
6,314,548
Austria
69.8
6,284,084
Dominican Republic
57.3
6,219,867
Thailand
8.9
6,188,124
Sweden
60.9
6,151,465
Australia
22.9
5,834,746
Switzerland
66.8
5,785,134
Cambodia
32.5
5,428,433
Peru
16.1
5,304,790
Serbia
72.8
4,955,746
Iran
5.4
4,553,653
Malaysia
13.9
4,490,270
Singapore
75.1
4,392,067
Denmark
72.2
4,180,186
Kazakhstan
20.6
3,861,948
Finland
64.2
3,556,222
Mongolia
107.9
3,538,289
Cuba
30.2
3,419,657
Egypt
3.3
3,340,216
Norway
60.0
3,254,587
Uruguay
93.5
3,248,537
Ireland
62.8
3,100,000
Nepal
10.6
3,074,592
Myanmar
5.5
2,994,900
Slovakia
53.7
2,934,355
Qatar
97.0
2,795,091
Ecuador
15.8
2,788,245
Azerbaijan
27.4
2,775,319
Sri Lanka
12.9
2,769,383
Jordan
25.5
2,601,824
Algeria
5.7
2,500,000
El Salvador
35.6
2,310,924
Nigeria
1.1
2,225,765
Uzbekistan
6.4
2,136,423
Croatia
50.8
2,087,157
Bolivia
17.7
2,069,629
Lithuania
71.5
1,947,363
Ethiopia
1.7
1,920,676
Costa Rica
37.4
1,906,177
Bahrain
111.2
1,891,596
Kuwait
42.6
1,820,000
South Africa
3.0
1,773,417
Ukraine
3.9
1,718,499
Bulgaria
22.7
1,577,024
Vietnam
1.5
1,498,323
Tunisia
11.4
1,347,889
Slovenia
63.3
1,315,575
Panama
29.7
1,281,550
Ghana
4.0
1,228,216
Angola
3.7
1,222,630
Kenya
2.1
1,113,158
Laos
15.2
1,108,388
Zimbabwe
7.4
1,107,058
Lebanon
14.8
1,010,867
Latvia
50.2
947,038
Belarus
9.8
924,926
Albania
29.0
834,868
Estonia
62.6
829,799
Taiwan
3.4
799,129
Uganda
1.7
777,805
New Zealand
16.1
775,444
Venezuela
2.6
739,962
Oman
14.0
713,262
Ivory Coast
2.6
692,523
Cyprus
78.8
689,776
Guatemala
3.7
664,722
Palestinian Territories
12.9
658,075
Afghanistan
1.6
641,295
Iraq
1.5
613,840
Malta
133.0
587,160
Senegal
3.3
545,915
Moldova
13.1
530,364
Maldives
91.0
491,834
Sudan
1.1
483,520
Bhutan
62.6
482,716
Honduras
4.6
460,245
Mauritius
35.8
455,242
North Macedonia
20.7
431,174
Luxembourg
67.6
423,029
Paraguay
5.9
419,925
Rwanda
3.1
400,096
Mozambique
1.3
394,930
Guinea
2.9
384,974
Malawi
2.0
377,614
Togo
4.2
347,246
Libya
4.6
317,809
Iceland
92.9
317,082
Bosnia and Herzegovina
9.6
315,780
Guyana
38.2
300,591
Georgia
6.7
266,146
Montenegro
41.6
261,294
Equatorial Guinea
17.6
247,228
Fiji
24.9
223,429
Yemen
0.7
221,380
Niger
0.7
180,987
Jamaica
6.0
177,889
Trinidad and Tobago
12.2
170,164
Nicaragua
2.5
167,500
Mali
0.8
157,129
Botswana
6.4
150,019
Barbados
52.0
149,513
Zambia
0.8
147,115
Somalia
0.9
143,379
Seychelles
139.5
137,196
Suriname
23.3
136,853
Kyrgyzstan
2.1
135,578
Jersey
112.0
113,192
Kosovo
0.000
98,277
Madagascar
0.4
97,300
Tajikistan
1.0
97,290
Namibia
3.8
96,433
Timor-Leste
7.1
93,169
Isle of Man
105.6
89,784
Belize
22.3
88,569
Sierra Leone
1.1
88,523
Cayman Islands
131.9
86,711
Cameroon
0.3
86,451
Comoros
9.7
84,360
Gibraltar
230.8
77,753
Bermuda
120.2
74,852
Guernsey
109.1
73,167
Syria
0.4
71,519
Bahamas
17.3
68,119
Liberia
1.3
64,129
Brunei
14.3
62,343
Antigua and Barbuda
59.3
58,074
Congo
1.0
57,613
Saint Lucia
27.3
50,132
Armenia
1.6
46,503
Mauritania
1.0
44,628
San Marino
128.1
43,471
Turkmenistan
0.7
41,993
Andorra
53.7
41,473
Gambia
1.7
40,810
Faroe Islands
81.8
39,987
Cape Verde
7.1
39,211
Samoa
19.3
38,361
Papua New Guinea
0.4
38,176
Dominica
52.3
37,678
Lesotho
1.7
36,759
Turks and Caicos Islands
93.4
36,170
Eswatini
3.0
35,227
Monaco
86.5
33,965
Gabon
1.5
33,591
DR Congo
0.036
31,871
Saint Kitts and Nevis
58.4
31,054
Tonga
28.4
29,980
Greenland
50.8
28,827
Grenada
24.0
26,975
Benin
0.2
26,624
Central African Republic
0.5
26,541
Liechtenstein
67.6
25,780
Sao Tome and Principe
10.8
23,644
St Vincent and the Grenadines
20.5
22,746
Djibouti
2.2
21,357
Guinea-Bissau
1.0
18,706
Solomon Islands
2.5
17,000
British Virgin Islands
53.9
16,302
Anguilla
97.0
14,557
South Sudan
0.1
11,889
Cook Islands
54.5
9,564
Saint Helena
130.0
7,892
Burkina Faso
0.038
7,881
Nauru
68.7
7,438
Chad
0.032
5,324
Falkland Islands
126.5
4,407
Montserrat
50.5
2,522
Tuvalu
20.4
2,400
Vanuatu
0.3
860
British Indian Ocean Territory
0
0
Burundi
0
0
Eritrea
0
0
Haiti
0
0
Kiribati
0
0
Niue
0
0
North Korea
0
0
Pitcairn
0
0
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
0
0
Tanzania
0
0
Tokelau
0
0
Vatican
0
0

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