By: Alexandra Rimbu
On Monday, May 10th, the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) made the critical decision to expand the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12-15, making it the first vaccine in the U.S. authorized for this age group. Previously, the Pfizer vaccine was authorized only for persons ages 16 and up. The two other COVID-19 vaccines, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are still only authorized for persons ages 18 and up.
The authorization of this vaccine came after the FDA’s review of a clinical trial, conducted by Pfizer, involving 2,260 12-to-15-year-olds, which showed the vaccine’s efficacy to be 100%.
The FDA also took into consideration the immune response of these persons aged 12-15 in comparison to the immune response of persons ages 16 and above who were vaccinated as well. Results yielded that the response to the vaccine was good, and, in fact, the younger age group (12-15 years old) had better responses than those in the older age group.
With the vaccine authorized, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and its Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, met on Wednesday, May 12th, to advise the CDC on whether to recommend use of the vaccine in this age group. CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, decided the agency will recommend the vaccine’s use in the new group.
Following this recommendation, the Biden administration quickly mobilized to get vaccinations ready for 12-15 year olds through the federal pharmacy program, pediatricians, and family doctors.
However, states make the decisions on who gives the vaccine and when, so there is no fixed date on which 12-15 year olds may begin to be vaccinated. As of now though, state licensing boards are discussing the distribution of the vaccine, and hopefully soon, the vaccine will be approved to be distributed throughout the whole state, a decision which will strive towards the eradication of COVID-19.
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