Pfizer and BioNTech announced Monday that the companies’ coronavirus vaccine is safe for children ages 5 to 11, generating a strong immune response to the illness.
The announcement comes after a large trial of the vaccine involving 4,500 subjects, with two-thirds receiving the vaccine in two doses, although each dose is smaller than that prescribed for adults. The companies said the vaccine generated antibody levels similar to those found in young adults with about one-third of the dose administered to the general population.
“We are eager to extend the protection afforded by the vaccine to this younger population, subject to regulatory authorization, especially as we track the spread of the Delta variant and the substantial threat it poses to children,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement to the media.
Children are generally at lower risk of hospitalization from COVID-19 than adults, although many hospitals have seen a rise in young COVID-19 patients over the summer amid spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech plan to apply for emergency authorization for use of their coronavirus vaccine in children by the end of this month. The Food and Drug Administration will work to approve that coronavirus vaccine for children as quickly as possible, Dr. Peter Marks, the FDA’s head of vaccines, told the Associated Press earlier in September.
“We’re going to do a thorough job on that as quickly as we can so that at the end of the day, hopefully within a matter of weeks rather than a matter of months, we’ll be able to come to some conclusion,” Marks said.