Pfizer starts trials of coronavirus vaccine in younger children
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Pfizer starts trials of coronavirus vaccine in younger children

Credit: Belga

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced it has started the clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine in healthy children between the ages of 6 months of 11 years, with the aim to make it available for children in early 2022.

In the countries where it was approved, the Pfizer vaccine is authorised for use in people aged 16 and older, in comparison with 18 years or over for most other vaccines administered in Europe.

“We have administered the first doses in children to verify safety, vaccine tolerance and immunogenicity to prevent Covid-19 in children from six months old to 11 years old,” a company statement released on Thursday read.

In the first phase of the trials, during which the company will identify the preferred dosing level for three varying age groups – between 6 months and 2 years old, 2 and 5 years old and ages from 5 through to 11, it plans to include 144 children

We, together with @BioNTech_Group, are proud to announce the start of a global study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of our #COVID19 vaccine in healthy children. Learn More:

— Pfizer Inc. (@pfizer) March 25, 2021

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All children will first receive a 10 microgram dose of the vaccine, which will progressively be increased to higher doses, the company said.

Participants also have the option to take 3 microgram doses. In comparison, the administration of this particular vaccine for adults requires two shots that contain 30 micrograms per dose.

In the second phase, the safety and effectiveness of the selected dose levels will be evaluated, with participants being randomly selected to receive the vaccine or a placebo, the company said.

It emphasised that, after a six-month follow-up, those who received a placebo will have the opportunity to receive the dose.

In late January, Pfizer said it had already fully enrolled its vaccine trial in kids ages 12 to 15, and now said it was “encouraged” by the data in these trials.

Last week, Moderna announced it had begun the two-part study of its coronavirus vaccine on thousands of children aged between six months and 11 years old, which will involve a total of 6,750 participants in the United States and Canada.

Johnson & Johnson, of which Belgium will receive its first 76,000 doses in mid-April, plans to test its single-shot vaccine in infants and even in newborns, after previously testing it first in older children.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times

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