BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine 100% potent among adolescents

BioNTech-Pfizer said on Wednesday their vaccine showed 100 percent efficacy against the coronavirus in 12 to 15-year-olds. This is the first Covid-19 vaccine in the world that has reported 100 per cent efficacy on children.

Phase 3 trials carried out on 2,260 adolescents in the United States "demonstrated 100 percent efficacy and robust antibody responses", the companies said in a statement. They are eyeing approval for adolescents to get the jabs before the next school year.

So far, the global Covid-19 vaccination drive has primarily concentrated on vaccinating adults in absence of reliable efficacy data of vaccines among children and older teens. But experts say vaccinating children is crucial to ending the pandemic. The nation is unlikely to achieve herd immunity — when enough people in a given community have antibodies against a specific disease — until children can get vaccinated.

The US sample was a small study, that hasn't yet been published, but it is another important piece of evidence which shows how well the shots revved up the kids' immune systems. Researchers reported high levels of virus-fighting antibodies, somewhat higher than were seen in studies of young adults.

The study will continue to track participants for two years for more information about long-term protection and safety. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in the coming weeks plan to ask the US Food and Drug Administration and European regulators to allow emergency use of the shots starting at age 12.

Pfizer isn't the only company seeking to lower the age limit for its vaccine. Results also are expected soon from a US study of Moderna's vaccine in 12- to 17-year-olds.

One key question is the dosage: Pfizer gave the 12-and-older participants the same dose adults receive, while testing different doses in younger children. -- AP

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