U.K. Authorizes Pfizer Covid Vaccine for Use in Adolescents


The U.K. drugs regulator authorized the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE for use in 12- to 15-year-olds as a number of countries move to inoculate children in a bid to end the pandemic.

Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said it extended the approval of the vaccine down to adolescents after concluding the shot had a positive safety profile in this age group, according to a statement from the agency Friday. The U.S. and European Union also authorized the vaccine for use in 12- to 15-year-olds last month.

The authorization marks the first green light for a Covid-19 vaccine to be available for use in healthy children under 16 in the U.K. The Pfizer shot was shown to have 100% efficacy in trials of more than 2,000 adolescents and is also being tested in younger children, with plans to trial the vaccine in all ages down to 6-month-old babies. Moderna Inc. also reported 100% efficacy from its adolescent trials last month.

“We have been very careful to take into consideration the younger age group and the benefits of this population being vaccinated against any potential risk of side effects,” said Munir Pirmohamed, chair of the Commission on Human Medicines, which advises the government on vaccines. “Data on neutralizing antibodies showed the vaccine working at the same level as seen in adults aged 16-25 years. These are extremely positive results.”

Following the regulator’s approval, the U.K. government has asked its independent panel of experts to advise on whether routine vaccination should be offered to people ages 12 to 17, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said in a statement.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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