Pfizer and its partner BioNTech announced Monday the late-stage trials of their COVID-19 vaccine in children show that lower dosage shots are safe and effective in children between the ages of 5 and 11. The company said it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon.
Some children received the smaller dose in phase two of three Pfizer trials – a third of the amount that's in each shot given to adults. After their second dose, children ages 5 to 11 developed COVID-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults, the companies reported.
Dr. Bill Gruber, a Pfizer senior vice president, and pediatrician told the Associated Press the kid dosage also proved safe, with similar or fewer temporary side effects – such as sore arms, fever, or achiness – that teens experience.
"We measure the ability of antibody from the children that were vaccinated to kill the virus and how well that matched up the antibody from 16 to 25-year-olds, and it matched very closely," Gruber said. "And since we know that 16 to 25-year-olds are protected and antibody is a good measure of that protection, having matched that antibody response, we're likely to match the protection."
Meanwhile, when it comes to adults, the government may still recommend a third shot for people who have been vaccinated for COVID.
As CBN's Faithwire reported, for now, a Food and Drug Administration panel has rejected booster shots for the general population for those who have gotten the Pfizer vaccine. Boosters would be recommended for those over 65 years of age or those with a high risk of severe COVID.
But Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical advisor, said the FDA is a few weeks away from making a decision on booster shots for people who have gotten the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. Neither of those shots has even received full FDA approval, and both are being used under an emergency authorization.
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told Fox News he expects it will become clear in the next few weeks that boosters will be necessary because the effectiveness of vaccines diminishes over time.
While kids are at lower risk of severe illness or death than older people, more than 5 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began and at least 460 have died, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Cases in children have risen dramatically as the delta variant has swept through the country.
"I feel a great sense of urgency" in making the vaccine available to children under 12, Gruber said. "There's pent-up demand for parents to be able to have their children returned to a normal life."
Moderna is also studying its shots in elementary school-aged children. Pfizer and Moderna are also studying even younger tots as well, down to 6-month-olds. Results are expected later in the year.
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