Bloc has joined an increasing number of countries, including the United States, Canada, Israel, China and Saudi Arabia, which have eliminated jabs for children.
On Thursday, the European Union’s drug regulator approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, paving the way for them to get the first shot in Europe’s efforts to control the surge in infections.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended that Pfizer’s BioNTech vaccine be approved by the European Union for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 to be injected into the upper arm in two doses of 10 micrograms, three weeks apart. The adult dose contains 30 micrograms.
Europe once again became the epicenter of the pandemic, accounting for about half of the cases and deaths, so it was approved.
Vaccination of children and young people who may unknowingly spread COVID-19 to others is considered a key step in containing the pandemic. In Germany and the Netherlands, children now account for the majority of cases.
Pfizer and BioNTech stated that their vaccine, called Comirnaty, showed a 90.7% effectiveness against the coronavirus in a clinical trial for children aged 5 to 11.
EMA stated: “Comirnaty’s benefits outweigh the risks for children aged 5 to 11 years, especially those whose conditions increase the risk of severe COVID-19.”
Although the final approval depends on the European Commission, it usually follows the recommendations of the EMA, and EU sources told Reuters that a decision may be made on Friday.
“Today’s recommendation… It is clear that the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective for young children and can provide them with additional protection,” EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said on Twitter.
Countries will not start vaccinating young children until next month. A BioNTech spokesperson stated that the first low-dose pediatric version will be delivered on December 20.
Wojciech Andrusiewicz, spokesperson for the Polish Ministry of Health, told the state-run news agency PAP that Poland will start vaccinating children aged 5-11 in December.
The EU has joined an increasing number of countries, including the United States, Canada, Israel, China, and Saudi Arabia, which have eliminated vaccines for children in the age group 5-11 and below.
Tens of millions of children in this age group will be eligible for injections in the European Union. A BioNTech spokesperson stated that Germany will receive 2.4 million doses of vaccine in the first shipment, enough to vaccinate about half of the country’s children aged 5-11.
For pediatric injections, the US regulatory agency approved a new version of the vaccine that uses a new buffer and allows storage in the refrigerator for up to 10 weeks.
As winter envelopes the area, people gather indoors to celebrate Christmas, providing perfect conditions for the spread of COVID-19.
Following Austria, Slovakia began a two-week blockade on Thursday, while the Portuguese and French governments are considering implementing more restrictive measures.
Although health experts have promoted wider use of booster injections to avoid overwhelming hospitals due to the weakened immunity of early injections, vaccinating young people is another tool to fight the virus.
However, after reporting possible rare cardiovascular side effects, some countries have restricted COVID-19 injections based on the so-called mRNA technology used by Pfizer BioNTech to young people.
Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease official, told Reuters this week that since the introduction of the vaccine for young children earlier this month, there have been no signs of any new safety issues.
Of the 28 million eligible children in the United States, at least 10% have received the first dose of the vaccine.