Covid vaccine: US children as young as five set to be vaccinated as Pfizer jab is recommended by FDA

Asia's Tech News Daily

Children as young as five are set to be given a dose of the Pfizer vaccine in the United States as more countries look at jabbing younger people.

The move to recommend the Covid-19 inoculation for five- to 11-year-olds was voted on by a government panel and backed by experts from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). About 28 million children would be eligible for the jab.

Trial data released in September appeared to show that the benefits of giving children the vaccine outweighed the risks, and produced a “robust” antibody immune result in that age group.

The decision must now be approved in full by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is expected to happen on 2 November. Vaccines could start being administered the next day.

On Monday, another Covid vaccine maker, Moderna, announced it was set to submit its report on vaccinations on children aged six and 11 to US regulators.

Official statistics from the US show that 160 children aged between five and 11 have died from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The Pfizer decision could have a significant impact on vaccine approvals for children around the world, as nations watch to see the effects it has on child health and transmission rates.

In May, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds – as did authorities in the UK, which started its rollout program for secondary schools last month. EU countries have moved at various speeds to do the same.

Israeli health officials indicated that a vaccine drive for children aged five to 11 could begin within weeks following news of FDA approval.

In contrast, in Mexico, the government is resisting calls to mass-vaccinate children under the age of 17, despite a court order to do so after parents of a 15-year-old girl sued the government to get their daughter jabbed. Hundreds more parents have used injunctions to have their children inoculated after Mexico’s medical safety agency granted Pfizer emergency use authorisation for children aged 12 and over.

However President Andrés Manuel López Obrador remains reluctant to roll out a wider vaccine programme, saying in a statement this month: “A public policy cannot be defined based on the interest of a person or a group.”

Covid vaccine: US children as young as five set to be vaccinated as Pfizer jab is recommended by FDA
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Some countries have already started vaccinating much younger children. In China since June, those as young as three have been given a Covid-19 vaccine in China produced by Sinovac, which is also widely used in countries across Asia, Africa and South America.

Vaccinations in China are thought to be voluntary, but some local government authorities have refused to allow children back to school unless they have received the jab.

In Chile, the Sinovac vaccine has been approved for use among children aged six and above. The company has also started trials to vaccinate children in South Africa.

India is thought to have the world’s largest population of under 18s, with Unicef estimating the number to be around 253 million. The drug regulator in the country approved a vaccine made by Indian company Zydus Cadila for emergency use in children over the age of 12.

However, India will not start the official rollout of the jab to young people until it has finished vaccinating adults, the government has said.

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