July 25, 2021

Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine approved for 12-15 year olds in Europe

This is a new step forward in the fight against the pandemic. Europeans will now be able, if they wish, to start vaccinating their adolescents against Covid-19. Friday, May 28, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) authorized, for the first time, the administration of a vaccine against Covid-19 to young people aged 12 to 15 years. In this case, that of Pfizer-BioNTech.

The messenger RNA vaccine is thus establishing itself a little more in the landscape of vaccination against the virus. It had already been the first to be authorized in Europe for over 16s, in December 2020. And it is undoubtedly the most administered. According to our information, to date, the laboratory has already delivered 190 million doses to the Twenty-Seven, against 55 million for AstraZeneca, which has multiplied the delays, 25 million for Moderna and 7 million for Johnson & Johnson, whose production is barely to ramp up. In addition, the Europeans have signed a new contract with Pfizer-BioNTech, covering 1.8 billion doses in 2022 and 2023, in order to be able to make recalls if it turns out to be necessary, or to adapt to possible variants, present or future.

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Some 2,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 who did not present with antibodies participated in the Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trial. Of the 1,005 who were actually vaccinated, none subsequently contracted the virus. In contrast, 16 of the 978 young people who had received a placebo have since tested positive. “Which means that, in this study, the vaccine was 100% effective”, summarizes the AEM.

Objective at your fingertips

“The immune response” of this age category “Is comparable to that of young adults, or even better”, commented, during a press conference, Marco Cavaleri, the person in charge of the vaccine strategy at the AEM. Moreover, he continued, the vaccine is “Well tolerated” by young people and there is “No major concerns” regarding possible side effects. That said, admits the expert, “The size of the sample does not allow detection of possible rare side effects”.

In Canada and the United States, the Pfizer vaccine has already been administered to adolescents for a few weeks, which offers a little more perspective on its side effects. A few days ago, US health officials reported rare and mild cases of heart problems in young people who were given the vaccine. But the number of reported myocarditis – which most often occurs after the second dose and affects more men than women – does not yet exceed the normal rate of this type of disorder in people of this age group. . The EAJ is in regular contact with its American counterpart and closely monitors developments in the situation across the Atlantic.

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