On Monday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that the vaccine that they have developed for kids aged 5 to 11 was safe and produced a strong immune response. This news has been welcomed by parents, teachers and others as schools have reopened and the cases among children are rising due to the delta variant of the coronavirus.
Pfizer’s trial included 2,268 children aged 5 to 11. Two thirds of the kids received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and one third received a two-dose placebo of salt water. Those who received 10 micrograms of the vaccine showed a strong response. However, when the dosage crossed 10 micrograms more side effects were prevalent although they were not severe, according to Pfizer.
The data is expected to be submitted for emergency use approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the end of the month. Former head of the FDA and Pfizer board member Scott Gottlieb told CNBC News that FDA approval could take a few weeks and shots for kids could be available by the end of next month or early November.
However, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health recently told NPR that parents and caregivers might have to wait till the end of 2021 for approval of a COVID-19 vaccine for children in the age group of 5 to 11 years.
The company did not release many details about the results of the current trials, including any effects on the heart as seen in some of those who were in the 12 and above age group. However, the company mentioned that it was testing COVD-19 vaccines for children as young as six months to 5 years and is expected to release clinical trial data by early next month.
Currently children account for one among five cases and this is the highest number seen so far during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the week ended September 9, 243,000 children had been affected by COVID-19 as per data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Although children have a lesser risk of developing the infection, when compared with adults, some of them are getting infected with multi-system inflammatory condition MIS-C which could be fatal. Other kids might develop lingering symptoms that remain for months and is called long Covid.