The U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to allow Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to be used in adolescents ages 12 to 15, according to a report by The New York Times.
The Times referred to unnamed federal officials who were not authorized to speak publicly about the FDA’s plans. If the FDA allows the use of the vaccine in the younger group during the week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory panel will likely meet a day later to review clinical research data and make a recommendation on its use, the Times reported.
Youth use may once again increase demand for vaccines
On March 31, Pfizer announced that the vaccine fully protects adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 from COVID-19 in a small Phase III clinical trial. The vaccine was also well-tolerated in the age group and led to standard side effects.
In the 2,260-person trial, 1,131 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 received the vaccine, while 1,129 received a placebo. There were 18 cases of symptomatic COVID-19 in the study, all in the placebo group. Pfizer said the vaccinated group produced higher levels of neutralizing antibodies than those previously seen in people aged 16 to 25.
So far, more than 105 million adults (32 percent of the population) in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. More than 147 million (44 percent of the population) have at least one dose of the vaccine. But since mid-April, the vaccination rate in the U.S. has dropped from an average of 2.6 million vaccines a day to 2.3 million now.
It is thought that authorization for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in young people could once again increase the country’s demand for vaccines ahead of summer events and the start of school in the fall.